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To Insert Name Here or Not?

ASA-Tire

It's one of those direct marketing golden rules (like, "If you can't make it big, make it red"): Personalization increases response. But, the truth is this ...

All personalization is not created equal.

First of all, if you don't have good data, don't even bother. No one likes to see their name butchered or simply wrong. In fact, the more you showcase an incorrect name, the worse your recipient feels. The Queen B (whose last name is notoriously difficult to get right) once received a very sleek, very high-end water bottle with her name so egregiously abused that she threw it away. And, promptly forgot the name of the vendor who sent it.

A client of ours, for whom we had designed an elaborate self-mailer that included multiple points of personalization, gave us a list that was "hand-built" by their sales force. Good thing we checked, because one record had "Owner's Wife" in the field for first name.

But, we digress ...

If you do have confidence about your data, think about where, how, and why you use personalization. What message do you want to convey? Where do you want to draw the eye? Some great places to consider include a teaser on the outer envelope, a letter's Johnson box and P.S. as well as the salutation, a brochure cover, or anywhere that promotes a special offer.

Another thing to think about — and easy and fairly cost-efficient to do now with on-demand, variable-data, digital printing, — is how can you use your recipient's name (which is likely their favorite word) to get some real estate on their fridge (B2C) or file cabinet (B2B)?

In other words, don't stop at the letter. Create a personalized something that they'll want to hold onto.

Here are some ideas that have worked particularly well for our clients:

  • Cartoons
  • Posters
  • Table tents
  • Magnets
  • Calendars

And printed personalization doesn't have to be limited to black type on white paper. You can depict a person's name in almost anything you can think of:

  • Jelly beans
  • Skywriting
  • River stones
  • Handwriting
  • Quilting

As with any direct marketing project, think about your audience, what matters to them, what they might find funny or worth holding onto. The principles are the same.

Even when you're getting personal.

 

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