I posted a while back about a rather engaging personalized direct mail piece. Michael Simmons of Vialuna Group, who created the piece, sent me an e-mail. So we started talking about what personalized direct is all about.
Michael Simmons' Top 3 Myths/Mistakes in Personalized Direct
1. The “Dear Bob,” Myth: Take an existing direct mail piece and add the target’s first name. Violá! You just built a personalized direct mail piece.
2. Brand Everything: This direct mail piece is my one shot to grab some mindshare, so even if the offer isn’t right they’ll still remember our name.
3. I Know My Target (Audience): I have (or bought) a GREAT customer or prospect list, now all I have to do is add “Dear Bob,” and my mark to this tri-fold mailer to make it effective.
Sadly true, and I know you're getting this stuff in your in-basket as often as I am. According to Michael Simmons, "It's not enough to throw personalized direct mail over the fence without creating a two-way dialogue." Don't think the old unpersonalized stuff is an acceptable alternative. Because digital printers have made it so easy, you don't have an excuse.
Imagine a 25 per cent response rate
Simmons says a crowded direct mail piece that is "plastered with your value proposition, your mark, your attributes, your favorite color" etc. will LOWER your response rates.
You only have two to five seconds to make a pitch in direct mail, so it had better be all about your customer or your prospect, not all about you. The reward for doing things right is high. Imagine having a response rate of 25 per cent which is the average rate claimed by Vialuna. (Recipients who visit the personalized web site.)
The cure to stodginess: charm and delight
I saw a sample of a new approach that totally charmed me. It put a smile on my face. It made me feel like this guy understands my life! [Except I wanted to pick both swamped AND pressured -- see graphic above.] Check Vialuna's approach out here. It won't be quite as charming if your name isn't Susan, but play along, OK?
"Finally, the truth is personalized direct mail often comes across stodgy because we think we know our target audience, but we don’t know individual targets. To prospects and customers, our company is engaging in a one-to-one conversation with them via post or the Internet. If your friend’s name is Bob and you call him Fred, Bob now knows how much you value the relationship. Customers and prospects react the same way to personalized marketing executed with often BAD data."
If you're not trying some of these new tools, your efforts are going to look a bit cheap to your customers. Like another statement stuffer from your bank, and how charming is that?
I've never met Michael Simmons, and I have no business relationship with Vialuna. The truth is they made this article easy by giving me some thoughtful responses to an my e-mail I sent. If you want blog coverage, it's worth trying to charm your target. Demonstrate you understand their world. Make it easy for them. Gee, kind of like personalized direct. Hmmm...