Faced with increasing pressure to validate performance, today’s marketing professionals are implementing more integrated strategies and deploying tools that enable them to better track their return on investment (ROI). Variable data printing (VDP) enables marketers to track campaign effectiveness...
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Faced with increasing pressure to validate performance, today’s marketing professionals are implementing more integrated strategies and deploying tools that enable them to better track their return on investment (ROI). Variable data printing (VDP) enables marketers to track campaign effectiveness, optimize direct-mail programs, and calculate ROI. It is no longer a secret that personalized, VDP campaigns can work extremely well, often jacking up response rates into the double- and even triple-digit range.
We have seen the statistics, and here is more proof for the static skeptics and non-believers still out there: The Chick-fil-A restaurant franchise in Covington, LA, saw a direct marketing response rate of more than 120 percent when it sought to establish a customer database and drive business. Its campaign combined personalized plastic postcards, PURLs, and viral marketing via social media, email, and SMS text messaging.
In North Carolina, historic Pinehurst Resort used postcards with a personalized URL (PURL) to drive enrollment in its golf academy last year. Once at the web address, visitors were asked to participate in an online survey to assess their golf game. Then, each golfer was mailed a brochure featuring customized information regarding the weaker elements of their game. One in 10 recipients of the initial mailing responded, reported PODi, the digital printing initiative.
In another example, to increase its membership and raise more funds, the Japanese American National Museum used customer analytics to review its existing donor base and determine what characteristics to look for in potential prospects. A direct mail campaign was developed to reach lapsed and prospective donors. Using relevant messaging, JANM saw a 10 to 15 percent lift in total donation amounts compared to the previous year.
In the political arena, using the power of printing to influence is nothing new, of course. Today’s direct mail is an adaptation of pamphleteering, the 19th-century election tool. Printer/politician Ben Franklin was distributing leaflets and propaganda long before that. And thanks to digital press enhancements, 21st-century print campaigning is more personalized than ever before.
With the fall elections four months away, self-mailers are beginning to, well, mail, deployed to drive people to the polls. While the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, and other “social” networks are garnering a great deal of attention during this election, direct mail is as important as ever. The parties and candidates are gearing up to send out reams of leaflets, postcards, and letters to U.S. voters. Direct mail can do important things that even television ads cannot accomplish. While TV commercials have great reach and impact, their messages are fairly general because they are seen by hundreds of thousands of people across different geographical areas. Many of these people are not in the parties’ target audience: Many already are committed to one of the parties, and some are under the voting age. And others are not watching at all, fast-forwarding with ad-skipping technologies such as DVR and TiVo.
Direct mail can be sent where it is needed most, and it can carry a highly focused message aimed at specific areas or even households or individuals. Localizing the national campaign and sending out targeted messages are seen as vital, especially because of what research shows about swinging voters. These voters are believed to be largely apolitical, interested in neither ideology nor abstract political arguments. But they might prick up their ears and pay attention if the issue at hand is a “hot-button” one – such as immigration or health care. Swinging voters also are said to be less concerned about big-picture themes and more interested in their own circumstances and those of their family and community: so-called“hip-pocket nerve” issues like interest rates, mortgages, food, and gasoline prices.