Tag Archives: Customer Engagement

Marketing personalisation. How to personalise your marketing to win customers

In last week’s blog I talked about the importance of making your communications targeted and specific by making it personal.iStock_000036792686Small

How do you personalise your marketing?

Many companies I work with have an abundance of data they don’t know what to do with, let alone know how to interpret it.

Other organisations don’t have enough data to even start personalising their communications.

Before you even start down the road of personalising your communications whether via a PURL (personalised URL) or variable data printing you need to have a database containing the basic information to be able to start sending any form of marketing communication.

The first mistake most clients make is we want to go big, yep we’ve got 60,000 customers on our database and we want to blitz them with a marketing communication strategy we intend to role out over 4-6 months.

content personalisationStart small and conservatively.

I guarantee the database will be out of date. It will have clients that no longer use your services and likely that there is no segmentation of the data i.e. broken down into industry type for example, retail, local government, higher education, banks/finance.

Do you know what the job position of the purchaser is? Is it the same for all your products and services or does it depend on which industry type you sell to?

Start with a campaign of 2,000 split between whatever your industry types are that might be 500 marketing emails or variable direct mail x four of your industry segments.

This makes it easier to manage internally and measure.

Sending out an email campaign using a PURL or direct mail to 20,000 potential customers is difficult to manage and is unlikely to be a huge success.

Starting small means you can select specific markets and restrict the number of recipients you market to.

Variable data

Creating marketing content that speaks to your customer gives the effect of having created an email or direct mail piece that speaks to them only.

This is achieved by having a qualified database with correct names, addresses, email addresses and job titles.

You can then extract the data by industry or job title or whatever variables you choose

Customising marketing campaigns makes your messages appealing to your  audiences.

Adding variable data to either your marketing email or direct mail campaigns makes it relevant and personal. But don’t go for many variables and don’t make the salutation i.e. name and title of the person one of the variables, that should go without saying.

There is nothing worse than getting a non-personalised mail that says ‘Dear Customer’ followed by variable bits of information with discount coupons it is guaranteed to be either deleted or thrown away.

  1. Does your database show the purchase history of your clients?
  2. What did they buy? When did they buy? Is it seasonal? Is there a pattern of purchasing or is every customer unique?
  3. Have you created lists for email or printed newsletters?
  4. Have you created lists via job title?
  5. Have you created lists according to industry sector?
  6. Do you know the sex of the recipients you are sending to?

By creating variables around what you know of your target audience helps you to be specific, targeted, highly personalised and provide content that is relevant to the recipient.

Think of your customers in highly segmented markets and offer them content that can be personalised. Within each group, tailor campaigns to specific buyers that you’ve identified i.e. frequent purchasers, male versus female, seasonal or non seasonal.

This level of personalisation will not go unnoticed.

Engage your customers on your websitehow does content marketing fit in with print

One of the main benefits of marketing is to drive your prospective clients to your website to buy. Customer surveys and onsite messaging are another way of building customer engagement.

Making your blog compatible with your brand tells a story, use a case study, site an illustration of where your products or solutions helped. It’s a great way to increase customer confidence to buy from you.

By personalising the content companies set themselves apart from the rest.


Social media is a great way to really get to know your audience by communicating your brand and messages you get your company culture and personality out there.

By answering questions, addressing concerns and comments shows interest and that you are prepared to get personal with them.

content marketing helps you connect

Content helps you connect with your potential customer

Plan it out

It is very difficult to keep track of what variable marketing campaigns you might be running so plan it out whatever form it takes.

It helps to stay focussed on the end game.

How many touch points do you intend to give your customers? Direct mail with QR code/PURL, email with PURL, follow up reminders both email and direct mail and so on.

A/B test

What you do for email can also be applied to direct mail. Design not just one piece of variable direct marketing but several different types. Test your marketing messages, it might be a small change to the title of the mail piece or a change to some of the text.

One of the benefits of using variable data means you can try out different messages, offers, information and see what works.

Try it out on your audience of 2,000, if it’s successful and you can measure what worked best then roll it out to a larger audience.

Plan, analyse, measure and do it again

Now you’ve spent the time, money and resources coming up with your marketing messages, unless you can measure and set goals you wont be able to see if they were successful.

cross media marketingSet KPI’s at the start of each project and it shouldn’t just be about attracting another XX% of new customers make it more specific like how many emails were opened and acted on, how many direct mail pieces were sent and how many responses.

When you can measure it you can use this as the stepping stone to the next bigger campaign.

Catchy headline, great design

Finally using variable data is fab I love it. I love nothing more than to get a great email newsletter or direct mail piece that is highly personalised and relevant to what it is we do.

Sadly, these types of marketing communications are so rare, mostly they are boring and bear no relevance.

Worse still, is the lack of thought put into the design and headline of the marketing message.

How many times do you really see a catchy headline?

When you do, you have to open the email or tear open the envelope or rip the side of the mailer because the headline compels you to take action.

content marketing and big data

When all is said and done a great headline is often the first thing your audience will read so make it fun, relevant and interesting.

Personalising your brand makes it easier for your audience to connect.

Branding content to support your brand’s messages is key to getting personal with your audience.

Not only will variable content engage with your audience because you are talking with them not at them, but it shows your willingness to connect with them on a human level.




How to target your audience with personalised communications.

Last week’s post talked about what Digital Print Management do when it comes to delivering customer service.  content personalisation

Knowing your customers well not only helps you deliver a personalised customer service but ensures they get personalised communications suited to their needs.

Most organisations think they know who their customers are but do you?

  1. Can everyone in your organisation define what your typical customer is, what do they look like? Where can you find them?
  2. How does you audience vary according to the services or solutions you offer?
  3. Which industry sectors do you work in and where have you had the most success?
  4. Which industry is most receptive to your business?
  5. Is your audience clearly defined by industry sector?
  6. What other products and services are your customers likely to be interested in?

content personalisationStudying your current customer profile should be a good indicator of the audience you successfully engage with but it will also help you target other companies or sectors that may want your services.

The key to understanding your customers is being able to understand the data you have about them.

This in turn drives personalised communication.

One of the important things about managing your customers is segmenting your audience into specific products or services and establishing if a pattern emerges between the two.

Thereafter you can identify the audience that is most likely to be receptive to any future personalised communications by direct marketing campaigns keeping it targeted and specific.

By understanding and interpreting your existing customer data helps you identify the criteria on which your customers purchased your products and helps you define which prospects you can target in the future.

For B2B customers this could be region, industry type/sector, company size, contact types.

This is all well and groovy but how do you collect prospective customer data on your target market so you can define your content marketing specific to them?

The more information we have on customers the more personalised we can make our marketing efforts.

content marketing and cross media

Who is your audience? Where can you find them? What do they want?

Personal details are crucial for marketing success and brand growth but how do you get customers to share more information when privacy and security are uppermost and trust is prevalent in most buyers minds.

No one wants to be inundated with salesy emails.

The more personal details we collect the better we can market our products and services and increase customer engagement with personalised communications.

Being able to market in a positive and meaningful way to your target customers builds up trust, expertise, knowledge and showcases your companies services and abilities.

customer security and trust

How do we build up customer security and trust?

But how do we build up trust in an online world?

Unlike meeting someone face to face, building creditability in an online world takes time and determination. It is not about blasting out full on sales messages one after another.

Here are five points to consider for building customer brand, loyalty and engaging your audience.

Showcase positive customer experiences

Hi-light case studies where your services have really helped one of your customers.

Digital Print Management used a case study of a big higher education institution who outsourced their payroll processing and printing. This case study was so effective it helped us pick up two large customers.

The customers were so reassured in conversations about our expertise and knowledge and we were able to back it up with good references, they choose us as their main service provider.

This is a good example of a positive customer experience without a typical sales pitch.

Using effective marketing strategies reduces the worry over privacy and security but ultimately builds up trust.

Ensuring your content messages are consistent across all media channels builds up trust, loyalty and familiarity in your brand this helps customers to be more willing to share information across the various channels.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have.

The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe”. (Anon)

business team standing

I wish I could lay claim to the above statement but I think whoever thought it up nailed it.

Promote brand loyalty

Consumers are more willing to share personal data if they are loyal to a brand.

The more you promote your company beliefs, culture and its ethos the more you are likely to connect with a customers personal beliefs and principles at which point they have the confidence to share their personal details.

Your brand is representative of your company culture and what your company stands for and brand loyalty comes out of your audience getting to know, trust and respect your company culture and its beliefs.

Recommend new products, solutions and services

Customers know that by giving away information companies will showcase new products and services which customers are likely to be excited about because they know they will be the first to view or experience them.

This is where personalised print marketing used in conjunction with cross channel marketing can be a highly effective way of moving the customer’s buying decision along.

A highly personalised mailer with discounted vouchers or coupons is a great way to get customers involved.

Give incentives

Free postage, 10% off the next order, vouchers and limited time offers, free downloads are great ways to get customers to give over their information.

Customers realise they are getting something for free by giving over their data willingly.

Provide location specific offers

Amazon local is a great example of location offers.

They send you an email containing various offers at discounted rates on goods and services in relation to where you live and according to some of your recent purchases.

The increasing use of smartphones and mobile devices makes location based offers even more relevant for targeting your audience and persuading them to give personal details based on where they are or live in return for an offer.

The end goal is to connect with your customers on an emotional level so they are confident to give you the information you need to personalise your marketing content to suit your potential buying audience, which then enables you to start the sales cycle.





What is marketing personalisation and what does it have to do with social media?


You cant have failed to notice Coca Cola’s ‘Share a coke’ summer campaign which is a great modern example of marketing personalisation.

Coke replaced the iconic brand with 250 most popular british names.

To ensure that marketing personalisation is targeted it has to be customised and personalised whether personalisation is attributed to direct mail, billing, social media personalisation is the key to engaging with your audience and customers.

We are over loaded with marketing messages subliminally and consciously but how do you cut through the ever increasing noise and get your message heard?

You personalise your product or service to suit the audience that the message is intended for.

Coke’s campaign was designed to create a huge buzz and engage its audience throughout the world and it has succeeded in doing that as people take to social media platforms with images of their personalised bottle.


What is the difference between marketing personalisation and customisation?

There are two types of one to one marketing: personalisation and customisation

Personalisation occurs when the company decides what marketing mix is required for an individual this is based on previously collected data.

A perfect example of this is Amazon.com personalised recommendations that display as pop ups when you log in showing suggestions of purchases you might like to make based on your previous purchase history.

Customisation is where the customer specifies one or more elements of his or her marketing mix. An example of this is Dell Computers giving the customer the option to customise the computer they order.

Sending out unpersonalised messages doesn’t engage your audience by personalising the campaign whether it is direct mail, email marketing, social media, billing you are more likely to engage a response from your customers.

96% of organisations believe that personalised marketing improves response rates and personalised emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% [Hubspot].

Irrespective of the statistics customer letters, invoices both paper and electronic, direct mail, email newsletters are being posted out unpersonalised this is a missed opportunity for further engagement with the customer.

Why is data so important? 

brand and personalisation

Making your brand personalised to your audience increases customer engagement.

According to the DMA [Direct Marketing Association] consumer willingness to share data with brands has increased dramatically over the past 18 months. Over 50% of the 1,193 UK adults that took part in in a survey for the DMA/fast.map data tracking report were willing to provide basic information about themselves – name, address and email to receive marketing messages.

Equifax one of the UK’s leading data providers believes that the rise in consumer confidence in sharing data is the increased transparency in privacy policies and improving practices to secure trust.

Major brands such as Unilever are ensuring their privacy policies are communicated better so that customers understand how their data is being used and 43% state that a clear easily understood data privacy policy would encourage them to share their data compared to one in three 18 months ago. Research has also proven that the better the data privacy protection policy is worded the permission to market rate can be improved by as much as 100% with the best notices reducing opt out rates by as much as 10%.


How does personalisation add value to my marketing?

What is the point of marketing personalisation?

Engagement with customers is all about data and never has it been more important than to understand consumers habits and what drives their behaviour to buy.

Purchasing data, social media, customer service interactions and web searches are all the essential components needed to drive customers to purchase.

Ensuring that your database is kept up to date gives a valuable insight in to customers behaviour influencing how you target your specific audience and/or market.

UK Office Direct is good example of managing their customer database when orders are placed on the site it offers similar products which may be cheaper or, more expensive but the point is you are given a choice of products and associated accessories.

This form of collaborative filtering determines appropriate recommendations for
the consumer ensuring that you are made aware of all available products and accessories.

UK Office invoices which are sent electronically contain variable personalised data hi-lighting various up and coming offers, products and accessories that the consumer might be interested in the foreseeable future.

It is clever personalised and strategic marketing because each invoice they email out is highly targeted and specific to the recipient.

The more a business knows about its customer the more it can tailor the buying experience by delivering targeted and relevant content.

Like amazon, a regular visitor to a specific website starts to receive a more personalised experience because the company recommends products and services that may be of interest based on the data the customer has previously entered making  the chance of click through rates significantly higher.

A more customised experience determined by consumer habits will drive conversion rates and encourage visitors to spend more. By being able to have instant access to the products they like with little effort they will respond by spending more money or by returning to the website.

The more personalised their experience is the more they are likely to share it.

Content is king

The more relevant the page the visitor lands on the more likely it will convert in to a sale. By understanding who is visiting the website, mobile site or app will ensure companies can be target specific and retarget customers with offers that make the whole buying experience relevant.

What next?

The new wave of inbound marketing is focussed on ‘personalisation’ and it is not just B2C but will focus on B2B.

By creating a more personalised experience for prospects and customers that delivers solutions to their individual problems, interests, needs and wants will positively reinforce people coming back.

How does marketing personalisation fit in with print?

Variable data printing lead the way with personalisation and the concept of personalisation is not new.

Printing variable data invoices, statements, council tax books and bills were some of the original paper based applications that were highly personalised and customised to the individual.

This form of personalisation has tripped over into the cross media marketing mix. [Cross media marketing] where marketing campaigns can include a PURL, in lay mans terms the PURL is a link that takes you to a website via a QR code or barcode that you scan with your smart phone.

web traffic and personalisation

Good content = increased web traffic = more sales

Content and personalisation has always and will always be king. Good content coupled with a unique and personal buying experience will drive customers to visit your website which is ultimately what we want.

What do you think?

How do you use personalisation in your marketing strategy?

What has worked for you and what didn’t?

Share with us your experience.

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