Tag Archives: Marketing Communications

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I guarantee the database will be out of date.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.




Print management and cross media marketing

print management and cross media marketingThe last five years have seen an unprecedented rise in electronic and social media.

The final death bell for print would not have been an unrealistic thought.

Jump forward five years and print remains a respected medium used to deliver powerful marketing messages connecting the consumer in a world that has too many social media distractions.

Consumers want choice and each has a different need that is unique and personalised this has created a unique niche for a very different kind of print management company that is able to drive communications in both print and digital format. It also makes print outsourcing an important consideration for businesses to consider when planning a digital and print marketing campaign.

Being able to work with an outsourcing partner that can manage and integrate the various channels of communication makes it a very effective way of maximising business efficiencies and savings.

Brochures, magazines, books and direct mail communications can stand out from the crowd when good content and great design is paramount.

Print has one major advantage over its digital adversary – longevity and undivided attention from it’s audience. cross media and print management

When a piece of direct mail, postcard, catalogue is in the hands of the consumer they are more engaged than when online. The web and other electronic methods of communication serve up distractions with competing adverts and ‘noise’.

We live in an age of choice and consumers want to be communicated to the way they want.

They may be happy to receive an e-newsletter but might want printed statements and it is down to the marketers to deliver the right combination of personalised communications that suits each of their targeted audiences needs.

By making print stand out more with great content and design, adding colour providing excellent finishing thus creating a long lasting product only cements print’s relationship with the consumer by providing an engaging and a lasting connection.

How often do you receive a great piece of direct mail?

Maybe you were attracted by the message or it was an interesting information piece that you want to keep and then pin to your reminder board or to the fridge. Print has achieved its goal by creating a lasting impact.

Managing print and integrating it with a cross media marketing communications mix requires a lot of thought and effort and is a complicated process.

It requires a dedicated print management company with expertise in printing, design, database management, postal and fulfilment processes.

content personalisation

For many companies that level of print management skill and expertise is beyond most marketing departments and is not a core competency making outsourcing an ideal solution for improved print management internally.

Outsourcing the cross media marketing mix involves consolidating print management and print procurement with one company capable of delivering printed products with online electronic solutions in addition to being able to provide the vital consulting services needed to ensure that any cross media marketing campaign gives the best return on investment.

It’s a balance between co-ordinating print with communication across all channels.

Marketers gain a competitive advantage working with a print management partner by transforming the way they design, create, produce, distribute and integrate their customer communications.

Marketers benefit from outsourcing print management in the following ways:-

  • Optimising customer communications across digital and print channels
  • Maximise the skills and expertise of a print management partner with access to many suppliers
  • Brand identity is aligned by centralising all printed and digital marketing communications
  • Combining print spend across multiple clients maximises cost savings
  • Access to first class print production, pre-press, design and fulfilment optimising each campaign to the full
  • Greater speed and flexibility to market for revenue generating campaigns and critical customer communications
  • Compliance by working with a print management company who has already vetted and ensured their suppliers are able to deliver the marketers campaigns on time and in budget
  • Data quality management by improving bad data and removing duplicated information ensuring that personalisation is cost effective

Organisations who outsource their marketing communications gain by acquiring expertise, a dedicated print management team capable of managing the variables within a cross media marketing campaign without the marketer having to source this knowledge themselves.

The business of customer communications is ever changing.

With more channels to market to get your message heard requires an organisation to be agile in managing customer preferences across all channels.

Social media is continuing to develop it’s role in customer communication and real time mobile marketing and ‘local marketing’ are still being realised making it increasingly difficult for a company to manage these processes in-house.

Companies stand to gain benefits by working with a provider who have solutions that include print, digital and document management that can deliver personalised marketing.

Marketers can integrate their marketing campaigns like never before and provide bespoke personalised communications to match the customers wants resulting in stronger brands and increased customer loyalty.

Collaboration with a ‘print-neutral’ print management partner who can place communications jobs where their customers will get the greatest benefits ensures that the marketer gains expertise, consultation, access to a variety of multi-channel distribution networks, brand consistency and major cost benefits.