When we think of 1:1 marketing, we think about higher response rates, increased customer loyalty, and larger order sizes. But how about lowering the cost of business? Because marketers often think of personalization as increasing the cost per piece, the idea of using it to lower cost of business seems odd. But when you take a closer look, it becomes clear how cost-friendly personalized printing can be.
According to research conducted by InfoTrends, print production is less than half of the cost of business for marketing communications. More than half is workflow and process. This includes things like project management, warehousing, and fulfillment/distribution.
The ability to streamline production using print-on-demand technologies and eliminate many of the process costs can results in significant cost savings.
- In one published case study, a provider of B2B commerce solutions wanted to reduce its project management complexity and reduce costs from obsolete collateral and inventory. In the past, 60% of its brochures had been thrown away. By implementing a digital POD workflow, it reduced or eliminated its cost of inventory obsolescence, and its order handling costs dropped by 85%.
- In another example, a travel company used to mail static multi-page catalogs to hundreds of thousands of people. Then it began personalizing based on age, income, and other factors. By precisely matching the messaging to the prospect’s demographic profile, the campaign generated a return of more than 10 times the company’s initial investment in the first month’s sales. Plus, the slimmer, personalized mailers actually cost less per piece than the previous versions.
So while personalized printing can be more expensive on a per-piece basis than static printing, once you start looking more closely, those calculations can turn on their heads. Add in higher response rates, customer loyalty, and per order values, and you knock that bottom line out of the park!
When it comes to successful personalization, everything hinges on the database. It’s critical to keep your data clean and up to date. Here are some hilarious stories of what happens when you don’t. These true tales are taken from LinkedIn’s Direct Mail discussion group.
- The California Department of Health sent a direct mailing to 50,000 residents who receive adult day care. The addresses were right, but the envelopes contained a gift for identity thieves. Recipients’ Social Security numbers were printed right on the envelopes!
- A direct mail house did not properly de-dupe its client’s mailing list. When the mailing went out, one hapless recipient ended up with several hundred pieces of identical mail!
- At one women’s college, many alumni prefer to have their mailing names listed as “Mrs.,” such as “Mrs. John Smith.” During one campaign, the mail house dropped the titles in the NCOA process and ended up sending the mailing to many of the alumni’s husbands instead.
- When the U.K.’s national airline was creating its passenger database, someone thought it would be funny to expand the passengers’ initials into military titles. So R. A. Smith became Rear Admiral Smith. The airline chairman received several letters from recipients requesting that they receive backdated pensions based on their elevated titles. It was funny until the data company had to hand search and correct every single title within 24 hours. All 50,000 of them.
- During one holiday season, a purveyor of fine meats and other food specialty items dropped 20,000 catalogs with an 800 number to call for faster service. Unfortunately, the number was wrong. Recipients ended up calling a funeral home.
We hope you get a few laughs out these stories, but there is very serious reason for sharing them. Data handling isn’t funny business. Talk to us before your next mailing to make sure your data is in the best shape it can be.
Do you sell the kinds of products or services that are ordered on a cyclical basis or that renew according to a regular schedule? If so, you should consider sending simple, calendar-triggered reminders based on the customer’s purchase or service history to keep your revenues flowing.
Auto dealerships use this technique all the time. To boost its service revenues, one Pontiac-Buick dealership decided to slice its customer database (both active and inactive) by type of automotive service, such as emissions checks, tune-ups and brake service. Then, the dealership sorted this data by date of next service, such as all customers with emissions checks coming up within the next 60 days. They used this information to generate weekly alerts to car owners in advance of the recommended service dates for their vehicles.
Using this approach, the dealership saw its service department profits rise to 18% within the first six months of the campaign, compared to 12% in the prior six months.
As auto dealerships know, a simple reminder can be incredibly effective. It works in other markets, too. Software upgrades. Computer service contracts. Gym memberships. Medical appointments. Pet care. Landscaping. Floral arrangements for birthdays and anniversaries. Any market in which the need for products and services is ongoing and cyclical.
Talk to us about how you can combine trigger marketing with personalized alerts and offers to keep your csutomers ordering. Don’t have those critical dates to send those triggers? Ask us about simple data collection. We can help with that, too!
Want to increase the results of your direct mail campaigns? Try a combination of print and email. It’s a powerful “one, two” punch that can really deliver.
Why would having an email address make such a difference? Let’s look at three reasons.
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Print newsletters are the default communications tactic for nonprofits. But other elements can yield tremendous benefits for nonprofits, as well.
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