Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Key Lessons From Personalization Backfires

Personalization is at the top of every list of 2016 direct mail strategies--but that doesn't mean personalization is a no-brainer. Indeed, a recent blog post by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director of Caslon & Company and the PODi (Print on Demand Initiative) digital printing organization, warns that poorly executed personalization can create epic fails, too. He provides a great example of personalization gone-wrong: an e-mailed offer of "escape the cold" winter airfare deals--sent to him in sunny Fort Lauderdale, FL, with an offer of a cheap flight to snowy Akron, OH! For personalization to work, all aspects of data, offer and message need to be thought out and tested from a variety of data perspectives, Greg stresses. First, the data must be clean and up-to-date (and, bravo, the offending piece got his e-mail and closest airport location right), and the offer must be appealing (an airfare of $39 from a local airport certainly piqued interest). But special care must also be taken with messaging. And here is where the marketing flopped--by adding personalized elements to a traditionally designed static offer without thinking it through. Simply dropping personalized data into copy does not necessarily create a relevant direct marketing message. Greg notes that the marketers could have avoided the snafu with cold and hot versions based on recipient location. But his basic point is that successful personalization requires "relevant thinking" instead of "broadcast thinking." Are you using your data to create that "relevant" personalized direct mail offer? Read the full article at

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