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Digital Empowerment in 2020: Getting Personal with Direct Mail

Digital Empowerment
By Chris Nolan November 12, 2019 No Comments

There’s no mystery to why Fortune 500 marketing executives have placed Direct Mail personalization among their highest investment priorities over the next two years. Consumers demand it. Looking at personalization payoffs like boosting Direct Mail engagement 20% while reducing costs and time to market, these execs know that their Direct Marketing teams must be digitally empowered to compete and win.

For too long, those Direct Marketing teams have become increasingly frustrated watching digital teams reap the benefits of technology investments made to increase the personalization, deployment and reporting for digital channels, while they fight through the trenches of a low-tech/no-tech environment. They are ready for a change — or they will be ready to move on.

Direct Mail marketers already know the importance of personalization: A targeted and relevant mailer can have an enormous impact on response rates. But gone are the days when customers and prospects were impressed by simple name personalization in Direct Marketing communications.

Getting Personal: Tools of the Trade

Technology, and its ability to accumulate and track relevant data, has changed consumers’ everyday experiences with brands. They fully expect brands to know who they are and how they have interacted with a brand at every touchpoint. They not only want personalized mail, they want customized experiences. Now. A Marketo study found that 78% of consumers will only engage with offers if they have been personalized to their previous engagements with the brand.

New marketing platforms plug into existing customer data resources and leverage automation to let Direct Mail marketers finally be personal at scale.

Equipped with a platform that leverages the power of real-time reporting and machine learning to intelligently analyze past campaign results and predict what will work in the future, Direct Marketers are able to safely produce more narrow, targeted, and personalized campaigns for each customer in their database.

At scale, Direct Marketers can architect an entirely new process of engaging customers, either at a macro level with generic promotions or down to the micro level where offers, images, copy, paper type, and delivery time are all managed in a single platform.

While personalization is a popular buzzword, we can’t forget that it is also a powerful new capability thanks to emerging technologies that are radically redefining the concept of scalable Direct Mail.

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Getting There: The Data Portrait

The rewards of personalization are undeniable — they offer a competitive edge that is fast becoming key to survival. Getting there, of course, has its challenges.

Right away, marketers need to integrate all available data sources to create a vivid “data portrait” of customers that will receive a personalized Direct Mail experience.

If data is coming from many different resources and is not accessible on a centralized platform, it’s almost impossible to increase personalization and utilize it at scale. The customer portrait is blurry at best.

Traditional Direct Mail deployment times often limit the scale and scope of truly personalized experiences. The time it would take a brand to ideate, estimate, produce, mail, and measure success, while still getting those campaigns to market quickly, only adds to the increasing pressure on the channel.

The need for a centralized platform only becomes more acute as marketers attempt to scale personalization for a real impact.

Personalizing to Scale: Cut Time & Costs

With the personalization race on, marketers now face the critical hurdle of scaling to meet the demands of more audience segments.

Brands’ investment in data and customer engagement platforms has created many testing and personalization opportunities. But the more complex a Direct Mail campaign, the more time needed to develop content for sophisticated personalization and versioning. And the more time a campaign takes to reach a prospect, the less relevant the messaging when it arrives in-home.  

Legacy Direct Marketing operations models strain to scale Direct Mail personalization, especially across multiple vendors. Traditional processes, slowed by detailed data operations, instructions, vendor management and manual proofing, bog down fast. The more personalization involved, the slower it goes.

Direct Marketers don’t have that kind of time.

Marketers need to be responsive as consumers and prospects engage with personalized content at a higher rate than generic messages. The solution? Minimize required collaboration time and effort by leveraging a centralized platform that supports a wide variety of Direct Mail formats that can be actioned based on engagement triggers and audience segments.

This way, marketers can easily develop and iterate creative and messaging for campaigns and multivariate tests, while reducing costs and time spent on creative content development.

Innovative direct Marketing automation platforms leverage artificially intelligent proofing (A.I. Proofing) technology to recognize gaps in data quality and errors in Direct Mail proofs. AI Proofing automates manual tasks, digitizes workflows and processes with vendors, and audits vendor quality — drastically cutting the time spent on managing vendors.  

Enterprise Direct Marketing platforms also provide testing and campaign analytics, letting internal teams easily review Direct Mail results and performance metrics to identify the personalized creative, messaging, offers and medium that drive optimal ROI. And machine learning can be applied to analyze and interpret these results over time to intelligently design, version and deploy winning Direct Mail campaigns autonomously, based on budget, strategies, customer behavior and market conditions. 

Brave New — Personalized — World

It’s a whole new world for Direct Marketers that have been trying to compete while stuck in the quagmire of manual, tedious and often flawed personalization processes. Digital technology can empower them to break away from the Direct Mail status quo and expand their capabilities in new and innovative ways never thought possible. They can take those Direct Mail programs already working and make them work harder, smarter and better, without increasing their budget or resources.

Interested in developing more personalized, targeted Direct Mail at your organization? Submit a Request for Consultation and a KleerMail Solutions Specialist will contact you.

This article originally appeared on MarTech Advisor.

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