No Saturday Deliveries? No Problem. Personalization is Key to Effectiveness, Regardless of Delivery
- Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in CHI Contemplation
What will be the effects of the U.S. Postal Service’s announcement to end Saturday mail delivery later this year? Media sources, including the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal, were quick to predict winners and losers.
If you’re in the greeting card business, you’re probably not too happy about the Saturday service cuts. But if you transact business primarily online, you may not even notice the difference. And if you compete with USPS for delivery business, the postal service cutbacks can’t happen soon enough. It’s fair to point out that Congress could step in and overrule the postal service plan, but we believe prudent businesses will accept the decision as reality.
Despite the USPS’s plans for five-day-a-week delivery, don’t expect direct mail marketing to wither. On the contrary, we believe marketers will continue to experience success using direct mail – as long as their efforts are well targeted, the messages personalized, and the timing adjusted to reflect the reduced postal delivery schedule.
Marketers will continue tying their direct mail campaigns to online techniques, with an accelerating focus on personalizing the message. In fact, targeting the right person with the right message is the key to effectiveness for both direct mail and online marketing.
Wisdom of PURLs
One example of this trend is the use of Personalized URLs (PURLs), by which businesses drive prospective customers to web landing pages that are personalized to the targeted individual or business.
A PURL typically appends the customer’s name or business name to the end of the marketer’s website address, providing a powerful response-generating technique. Marketers use PURLs in direct mail as well as email communications. Programming scripts can be used to create PURLs for each customer on your prospect list.
Marketers use PURLS to increase response rates, customize interactive marketing, gain valuable information about consumers, boost conversion rates of website traffic, manage customer relationships more effectively, send qualified leads to their sales force and track marketing campaign responses as they occur.
Don’t be one-dimensional
Another personalization technique is the use of dimensional direct mailings to stimulate open rates and response rates among targeted sales prospects. For example, Cooper Hong Inc. has created a variety of dimensional mailings that incentivize prospects to visit clients’ tradeshow booths, sign up for online presentations, request a product demonstration, or attend dealer and distributor events. Including a branded premium item in the mailer not only provides a powerful call-to-action incentive, it helps build goodwill among prospects for the client company and brand.
Still another method of providing personalized contact is the inclusion on a business website of a short signup form, enabling prospects and customers to register for email newsletters and alerts. By opting in to a company’s marketing communications programs, an individual signals an important willingness to engage and connect with a company and its brand.
Meet the challenge
The use of these and other methods of personalized communication help marketers connect more effectively with their customers and prospects regardless of the delivery channel – be it a somewhat diminished postal service, a private-sector alternative or the ever-growing online and e-communication options.
Ultimately, the impact of the postal service cutbacks will be expressed in the resiliency, creativity and competitiveness of businesses in every sector of the economy. You have six months – including Saturdays – to successfully position and prepare your company for this change.
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