Personalisation is the key

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The infographic is a perhaps light-hearted way to demonstrate that personalisation is important - but full of potential pitfalls. From basic errors such as getting names, titles and addresses wrong many businesses also make more substantial mistakes when it comes to personalised direct mail.

Another error for marketers is that they don't personalise enough! Both data and printing technology have developed to enable most companies to create relatively sophisticated personalised campaigns - you don't need to be printing at high volumes to employ Variable Data Printing technology to create effective personalised mail campaigns.

But software is also allowing an analysis of transactional and non-transactional activity to create much more bespoke campaigns that look at the ‘bigger picture' - exploring customer lifestyle, life stages and specific project journeys as much as purchase history. This level of sophistication can produce a dramatic increase in response rates and ROI. As ever, the data alone cannot do anything - it needs to backed up by a strong creative, effective content and a clear call to action.

Personalisation should be based on three areas:

1. Profile. What I've told a brand about myself in terms of age, sex and interests.
2. Behaviour. What a brand can infer my likes and interests are from my interaction with them.
3. Transactional. What my purchases both on and offline tell you about my current and future needs.

Used correctly, combining these areas begins to create relevance and context to messaging.

And this is perhaps another area where personalisation can pose dangers. Mining the available data is very important but it does not mean that the basics of any Direct Mail can be forgotten: the recipient needs to receive a mailing that that they are likely to want to open and/or read; they must receive a clear offer that appeals to them; and there needs to be a clear call to action and there needs to be some form of tracking that allows you to measure the success of the campaign and track response. In summary, don't let the data ditch the need for creativity.

Another aspect of personalisation for all campaigns is that it should be 360 degrees - recognising that the vast majority of consumers access digital as well as traditional channels. Therefore a smart campaign, with the ability to fuel future campaigns, will move consumers between digital and print channels - for their benefit and for the organisation's benefit.

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