“Most printers will immediately throw out quotes on how it can increase response rates,” says Buck. “They often miss other values such as reduced print volume once the database has been cleaned, qualified, and segmented; reduced postage due to this reduced volume; reduced cost in returns due to bad addresses; increased conversion rate due to targeting a higher prospect level; etc.”
There is a huge amount of data that can be used to back up the case for the benefits of personalization, but in the end it is much more effective to show someone than to tell someone.
“If printers would start a regularly scheduled marketing campaign using the technology they already own, customers could see examples of the benefits,” says John Giles. “Printers should have personalization in the newsletter they send to their customers each month. They should be using personalization on the postcards they are sending out to promote their business. If a printer isn’t using the tools available and don’t think they are important to help increase sales, then the customer will never be convinced of the value of personalization.”
Buck agrees. He also segments printers into two categories and offers specific advice to each.
For those with experience in personalization, he recommends building case studies of successful and unsuccessful campaigns and using pre-recorded webinars to give short clips on how a personalization program can work. “Develop a whitepaper on personalization that breaks down the process into segments and timelines so the client will understand that successful campaigns may require six to 12 months.”
For those new to personalization, he says practice with your own company first. “Find a good client who is willing to let you use them as a test case and document everything,” he advises. “Run a campaign, study the results, alter the database, the offer, the context, the graphics, or the format and test the campaign again.”
With these “show me” tools in hand, you can then approach customers with the proof that you walk-the-walk and the evidence of both the value and the variety of personalization options.
For both beginners and old hands in the personalization game, Buck cautions that “beyond explaining the benefits of personalization you must explain the steps and processes that must take place prior, during, and post campaign so that the client fully understands the long term commitment that is required.”