True one-to-one marketing can be a reality, not just a goal. It’s all about relevancy!

Offline and direct marketing

Too many companies are still restricting their customer communication marketing efforts to generic or simple personalisation.

Often, this is due to a failure to understand the potential inherent in their knowledge of their customer’s data.  Sometimes it’s just inertia.

Many don’t realise that they could dramatically increase their response rates and reduce their volumes by spending more time at the front end of the process creating communications that are more relevant to the individual recipients.

Gen Y’s and Gen Next’s are re-embracing print & mail.  Many no longer use email for anything they don’t have to, preferring social media channels.  Most however love receiving a letter in the letterbox...but only respond if it is relevant to them.  The amount of customer data and usage patterns available today leave companies with no excuses for not communicating one-to-one. It’s all about relevancy, and relevancy is achieved by using data effectively.

I recently discussed this issue with Howard McDonald, current Chairman of Rodd & Gunn, previous Chairman of Myer Holdings Limited, and former Managing Director of Just Group.  He agreed, that; “absolutely, nobody wants to receive an offer for something they already have or don’t need.”

We continued about the fact that today we have the data, so it “all should be about one-to-one marketing” he went on to say, and that “too many companies don’t seem to think about all of the data they already have about their customers.”

I agree with Mr McDonald’s sentiments 100% and I think that the two biggest issues are:

  1. Status quo – “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and the perception that the financial and time cost of change to do anything differently will be too great.
  2. Lack of knowledge and experience – I am still amazed when I review with senior people some of the levels of personalisation that we were achieving 10 or even 20+ years ago, and get back, “really, you can do that?”

Yes, simply by using the data you already have about your customers more effectively, you can make every object or component of a document variable.  Feasibly, every piece of every page of every document could be variable, whether the run is hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands or more.

We’ve all received the generic letter with a “Dear Sir/Madam”.  It may have been addressed to your house, but no personalisation.  We may have even received a letter or DM piece that has some good use of our name in some fancy font, yet is trying to sell us something that we’ve already bought, or something they should know we don’t need.

Gone are the days of single channel communication with your customers. But rather than trying to simply get more quantity out there, focus on getting more quality out.  If you have data about your customers, use it.  If you don’t and can source it, get it.

One-to-one marketing is not just a goal that companies should aim towards, but a reality they should be implementing today.

It’s all about relevancy and can be achieved for a lot less than most companies think.

Do you have an example of good data use that shows greater than average relevancy?

Are you looking for ways to better utilise data about your customer’s?


Brett Dashwood

Brett Dashwood

Owner at The Document Institute

Brett Dashwood edp has developed a large array of skills, knowledge & experience from over two decades in the electronic document systems & printing industries. He has been involved in document solutions, created & facilitated education programs, and presented to a wide level of audiences on 5 continents. With a technical grounding, he went on to hold senior management positions with regional & global responsibilities, both in Australia & the USA, before starting his own company in 2008.

The Document Institute

The Document Institute

Marketing and communications


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Joyce Walker

Joyce Walker ,

Do you have an example of good data use that shows greater than average relevancy? Coles and Woolworth are doing pretty well in this space.