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Variable data – does it work?

I have a great interest in the concept of variable data. As a marketing dilettente, I find variable data printing to have huge potential. How powerful is it receive a mailer that is personalized to your wants, needs, or desires? Today, that can be done with great results, but it depends ….

For example, a loyalty programs that can reach each member, showing them what they have in their account, while providing them with a card, demonstrating why they should be using the program. Or, a fund raising campaign that reaches out to individuals, using each person’s “hot button” to tie them to the purpose and goals of the program. How about car dealerships that can invite someone back to drive away in the car of their dreams, showing them the car they drove and are missing.

I have witnessed the car dealership example with one of my vendors, whereby a single dealer’s program returned 13%. Ford Dealers of NC banned together to get 24% return. I was astounded to hear and read these numbers. Then another friend of mine has seen no better results from a Google map linking into the program for a retailer, whereby each piece printed directed the household member to the stores location from their house. So, it does come down to good copy and design plus the biggest ingredient, the target audience. Obviously, the store targeted the wrong audience. They did not know who was actually looking for their product.

Therein lies the biggest problem: the correct data being utilized. If you have great internal data, that’s the strongest definition of your target audience. But, most companies do not keep good updated data. They get lazy. The sales force is not motivated to provide this data, as it takes away from their time selling. Yet, this data is hugely important.

Take the car dealerships. They used the information off the person who just test drove a car. All test drivers who did not buy were sent an invite with a premium offer if they’d come back in. A photo of the car they drove (or at least the model and color) was printed on the mailing. The call to action included an incentive which most would use. The pieces were highly personalized, being directed at someone ready to make a decision or were considering, hence the results were huge. Plus, this is for a large ticket item, not an easy decision.

I see potential. I see great ROI. And, I don’t see a delete button, which is impartial and used quickly. Each piece might be tossed, yet might get a second look because it’s on the counter staring back at the recipient. Print has staying power. An e-mail invite does not.

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About dberkey

[dberkeygroup] is your communication fulfillment team. We let you deal with your business, while we manage your communication and marketing projects. We deal with the "how", utilizing a variety of technologies to better manage your communication needs. Through a group network, dberkeygroup helps get your message out, from concept to completion. Why waste your time trying to figure out the "how" in your marketing efforts, when you should be spending time on the business you know? Some of the projects and goals we have helped succeed: - Cross selling products to various markets. - Fund raising with non-profits. - Generate more RFP opportunities. - Simplify a lead generating process. - Create brand awareness. - Help with trade show presence. Some projects involve creative people, such as graphic designers, writers and website developers. Others involve mail houses, printers (offset, digital or wide format). Other projects involve a mix of many sources. With [dberkeygroup], you only pay for what you need. No extraneous overhead, not lots of employees. We target with the best sources because how your clients see you is important. Our job is to make you and your business look good and make those projects as simple for you as possible.

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