The value of a personalized direct mail marketing strategy has become widely acknowledged, but often little tangible data is provided by marketers to justify it. While it's true that some communications don't need to be personalized, in many cases, it's vital and the lack of personalization adversely impacts ROI.
Here’s what I mean: Let’s say you own a neighborhood store. Personalization isn’t important if you want to distribute discount coupons door-to-door as with Every Door Direct Mail®. However, if you’re asking your best customers to come to an event or are trying to drive loyalty, personalization plays an important role in the response. Best customers like to be “known” and treated accordingly. If you work in a service industry, you know how vital relationships are and having someone’s name and possibly something about their interests in your direct mail speaks “personally” and adds value. So, with that, let’s look at some data:
According to a 2016 study by InfoTrends with responses from 900 people, “over 84% reported that personalization made them more likely to open a direct mail piece.” As InfoTrends remarked, “Personalization has become a powerful direct mail tactic that is relatively easy to incorporate.” Indeed, marketing has moved into the era of hyper-personalization with companies like Enthusem and this trend is not going away. Sophisticated geo-demographic personalization techniques are becoming required, businesses are increasingly seeking mail service providers that offer an API and greater technical proficiency is expected to provide unique images and content for each mailing piece. One example is the increasing use of Google Street View images in real estate investor direct mail, home improvement advertising and just about anything having to do with someone's home including including insurance and finance.
The USPS Household Diary Study has consistently hited at the importance personalization for businesses sending marketing mail. Direct mail simply addressed to household members by name is read more quickly and considered to be more useful than mail addressed to “occupant” or “resident.” Moreover, the study indicates that the intent to respond is higher. i While it is no guarantee that "intended response rates" directly correlate to "actual response rates," it is clear is that communication perceived as irrelevant or insensitive to recipients' sensitivities are often discarded immediately.
Personalization has proven itself and marketers who pay closer attention to it will see greater results. The data shows it.
i. USPS Household Diary Study 2015, Table A3-54 "Standard Mail Reaction to Mail Piece by Addressee"