According to recent statistics, a massive 94% of businesses now say personalisation is critical to the success of their marketing activities. However, when most marketers refer to personalisation they usually focus their efforts online. Offline personalisation can often become an afterthought, due to the relative ease of personalising a consumer’s online experience. However, to exclude offline is to miss an opportunity to deliver a truly multichannel marketing campaign.
Today’s customers communicate with brands across a variety of platforms and expect the same in return. Although digital communications do save time and money, limiting personalisation to online prevents true integration. Channels need to work together and complement each other to create an integrated customer journey. Each channel should be treated as a part of the bigger picture and should be fine-tuned to better fulfil its role within the customer experience.
So, how can you add offline into the personalised marketing mix?
Use Your Knowledge
Data has never been more important in understanding customers, their behaviours and habits and the more details you have in your database, the easier it is to personalise your marketing materials. As marketers, we now have access to data from a variety of different sources. Social media, customer service interactions, transactional data, profiling information and web searches are just a few of the elements comprising what has become known as big data. So, what’s the key information you should be looking at? Focus on demographics and industry challenges, preferences, past behaviours and real-time behaviours. Together, these four areas combine to give marketers a well-rounded view of each of their customers.
Apply What You’ve Learnt
It’s not just about having the data; it’s what you do with it. If your online marketing activity data tells you a customer has spent an hour browsing for mid-range hotels in Rome without booking, why not use that data to send a personalised brochure of hand-picked hotels through the post? Offline offers another opportunity to seal the deal.
Digital printing has enabled the production of direct mail that is relevant and, crucially, speedy and responsive, without necessitating a massive increase in your production costs. In fact, a recent survey undertaken by Royal Mail, established that it is 25% less expensive to implement digitally printed communications than it was five years ago. However, to really increase engagement, don’t limit personalisation to one channel.
Personalised campaigns can be rolled-out across mail, mobile and digital platforms, enabling you to reach out according to yet another preference: engaging with prospects through their preferred delivery method. Fully personalised digital print and emails can include pURLs (or personalised URL’s) – allowing you to steer customers to a more personalised online experience. Linking your offline and online marketing together and providing a consistent, tailored message across all channels.
Break The Rules
There is no secret formula to successful personalised communications, so be wary of anybody who tells you there is. The moment you believe this, you’ve stopped testing new boundaries and being creative.
Sometimes that’s a hard thing to accept when you’ve spent years in a direct marketing world where tried and tested methods have become established about how direct mail should work. While cost per response, conversion rates and cost per sale are all relevant, we need to be careful to view these in the context of the product and the end goals of the communication. If you focus solely on these, it can narrow your options to a point where you have very limited opportunity to affect response rates and make a difference. It’s often worth spending a little more on a campaign, to deliver a significantly better ROI.
You need to understand your audience and their time constraints and apply personalised creative and channel preferences. Resolve yourself to the likelihood that it may take several layers of communication to break through. Be prepared to invest in making a statement where the response would be worth it and maintain a focus on keeping your messages relevant.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Personalised direct mail campaigns can be automated to respond to a data feed that triggers the creation of artwork, each piece being personalised with the relevant information and images based on flags in the data. Data feeds can arrive at regular time periods and be triggered by activity on your phone lines or website. Creative templates can be used as a base, which are then completed using a dynamic library of pre-agreed offers, imagery and content. Combining to reflect the individual’s preferences, stage in the customer journey and behaviour. And if your contact responds better to email then that’s what they should get. Automation is meant to be time saving, opening up opportunities to be more relevant, NOT restrictive.
Consumers increasingly expect a personalised experience when they engage with brands. They don’t have the time to sift through information until they get to the bit that’s interesting or relevant to them. So, whether you personalise by name, past transactions, behaviour, location, relatable images, industry, job title, interests or a combination of these – just remember, the personal touch goes a long way.