Printing Hub: Center of the Printing Universe

Helping Printers Evolve

3 Tips for Creating a Personalized, Data-Driven Direct Mail Piece

Posted by on February 17, 2012 under Direct Mail and Featured

Clever can only get you so far. Smart-aleck copy and an odd picture may attract your recipients’ attention, but it’s not likely to convert leads. On the other hand, thoughtfully using consumer data to personalize your direct mail piece increases response rates.

When you set out to personalize your direct mail campaign, keep in mind that adding the client’s name to a clever piece won’t do much anymore. The opportunities for personalizing your direct mail piece are great, so don’t throw away your chance to connect with recipients by focusing on them.

Mine for Data, Strike Gold

Data will make its way to your direct mail campaign in one of two ways. Your client may have purchased a list, or provided one they built in-house. In-house lists may require more of your marketing expertise when clients want to expand it. Ask the right questions to build a better list of strong prospects. What’s the profile of their ideal prospect? What data do you need to find that prospect? You’re pros—you get the idea.

Marketing services providers may be involved in the data-purchasing process with their clients. If so, remember that buying extra data pays off. As Kate Dunn of Digital Innovations Group pointed out in a previous interview on becoming a marketing services provider, “direct mail is always like finding a needle in a haystack. If you can spend more on data to get a smaller haystack, you’re gonna have better luck.”

Think Before You Print

As Dunn explains, direct mail marketers relied on cleverness in the early days of variable data printing. Dunn said that when VDP was new, “having your name on top of a cereal bowl was clever—but if I don’t eat cereal, having my name on the bowl isn’t enough to make me eat it.”

Relevant direct mail pieces are personalized with more than a name on a cereal bowl. Use your data to know what’s relevant and what isn’t to prospects. When working with a B2B client, for example, your piece should consider whether the recipient is a CEO, HR manager or sales rep. Obviously, a message for the CEO isn’t directly relevant to the sales rep. Adjust your messaging accordingly.

(Data) Portion Control

Step away from your clients’ raw data long enough to assess how much you should use. You’ll freak them out if you use too much—especially personal information. Soft-sell your message with subtle personalization instead. Your coupon for a children’s clothing store shouldn’t reference the birth announcement where you found the prospect. But you can direct your message to new parents.

Personalizing your direct mail piece allows you and your clients to speak directly to prospects. And they’re much more likely to respond when they know you’re talking to them. How can you use prospect data creatively to increase your direct mail ROI?





By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the Printing Hub Policy and agree to the Printing Hub Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.