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It's time to get personal

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Treat your customers as individuals
Treat your customers as individuals
Salvatore Vuono
 

Long gone are the days when you can have a successful marketing campaign with a generic message aimed at as many consumers as possible. With thousands of TV channels, millions of web sites, an abundance of mail, and satellite radio and MP3 players available to your customers, you message can get lost in the clutter more easily than ever.

So what is a savvy marketer to do? Personalize!

Here are two recent examples from companies based here in the Kansas City metro area of what and what not to do.

First, the bad one. A friend showed me a post card from a local real estate company. Amazingly, this is one of the most successful realtors in Missouri, but from the example, it's difficult to see how. The post card was personalized, with the name and photo of the owner of the company. But there was also a group photo of his team, with one person highlighted. Unfortunately, her name and contact info was nowhere to be found. We joked that a customer would need to call the main office and request "the fourth realtor from the left on the bottom row." In what could have been a great way to showcase the personal service a customer receives from working with one realtor who gets to know his or her wants and needs, this card makes it appear that customers will just work with whomever happens to answer the phone.

But that wasn't the only thing wrong with the post card. It was also difficult to see if they were trying to get customers to buy a house, sell a house, or both. There were so many scattered areas of text that it was a challenge to know what to read first to understand their sales pitch and there was no real call to action. The result? The odds are that most people who received this card glanced at it for one second and pitched it in the trash.

The second example was a complete opposite of the first. It was also a direct mail piece, but this time it was developed by Sprint. I spoke to sales representative Gary Munroe of Richardson Printing, who produced the piece, about what made it a stand-out. First, Sprint had a well-segmented and targeted mailing list. The mailer was sent to people who had recently purchased phones, and each customer's choice of phone — including the exact color — was included on the spreadsheet sent to Richardson. Using digital printing, they were able to personalize each person's mail with a photo of their phone, as well as personalize the text inside with their name and account information.

In case you have never had something printed with variable data like this, rest assured that is it not very expensive. It doesn't take Sprint-sized budgets to make this happen. Any business can be smart with its marketing budget to personalize the message and see a higher ROI on that expense. If direct mail doesn't work for your audience, segment your email list and make three or four versions of an email customized to different groups. That would take even less time and money than splitting your mail.

With so much data available to businesses today, consumers expect you to know enough about them to deliver a customized message.

Personalize, personalize, personalize. It's time to get personal and see your efforts pay off.

To learn more about how you can personalize your marketing, contact Debi at brandnewconcept.com.

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