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Personalization vs. Relevance: The Science & Art of Direct Mail

Debora Haskel

Much of the industry discussion about maximizing the effectiveness of direct mail has centered on creating unique offers that increase open and response rates. In our industry, the terms “personalization” and “relevance” are often used interchangeably. While they have similar meanings, there are subtle but important differences that are necessary to understand. This is always a hot topic at the annual PODi AppForum, especially during Rab Govil’s Relevant Marketing Pre-Conference Workshop.

It might be easiest to think of personalization as a science and relevance as an art. Personalization often refers to variable data printing that includes the recipient’s name, appropriate images and a personalized response mechanism such as a PURL. The right combination of high-speed equipment and database technology is required to print at this level of sophistication. That’s where the science comes in, and why we have invested so heavily in that area.

While personalization results in what information goes where on a piece of paper, relevance is the art of developing content that speaks to the recipient’s needs, at the right time, and delivers a compelling solution to his or her problem. For example, a relevant B2B offer will discuss statistics and challenges faced by the recipient’s industry, followed by solutions tailored to address those specific demands.

Here are three tips from the AppForum to make your direct mail copy more relevant:

  1. Put Critical Ideas at the Beginning. Most consumers skim their mail and only read the first few messages. Take advantage of established reading patterns when organizing content and put your most important information at the top.
  2. Have a Conversation with Your Prospect. The goal with any relevant direct mailpiece is to “speak” to your potential customers. Show that you understand their specific problem and provide the solution with a timely call to action.
  3. Make the Call to Action Clear and Easy. Not only should the call to action be relevant, it should also be convenient to respond. Don’t make your prospects jump through hoops or click too many times to follow through with an offer.

Successful direct mail campaigns are a product of personalization and relevance. Despite their subtle differences, both strategies used in tandem can turn a direct mail offer from interesting to irresistible.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2012/05/23/personalization-vs-relevance-the-science-art-of-direct-mail/
Debora Haskel

Author

Debora Haskel

Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications. Graduate of Syracuse University. Member of the Forbes Communications Council. Bringing the “there’s no such thing as good enough” philosophy to IWCO Direct since 2000. Single Source Award winner while at Banta, antique auction aficionado, and New York Yankees supporter since age 4.

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