Archive for the ‘Digital Printing’ Category

The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

If you haven’t downloaded a copy of “The Big Potential of Big Data: A Field Guide for CMOs,” it’s worth your time.

Put out by Rocket Fuel and Forbes, it’s a free 22-page report based on a survey of 211 senior marketers designed to gauge their perceptions about the success of their marketing initiatives, as well as their use of and the benefits of big data.  Granted these were bigger companies than most of those in this industry (revenues of at least $500 million and marketing budgets of $10 million or more), but it supports the trend line and will give you great talking points with your customers.

(Download the report here.)

Key data points from the survey:

  • Of the organizations that used big data at least 50% of the time, 60% said that they had exceeded their goals. By contrast, of the companies that used big data less than 50% of the time, just 33% felt they had.
  • More than nine in 10 companies (92%) who had “always” or “frequently” made sufficient use of data said that they had met or exceeded their goals, while just 5% who said that they were making sufficient use of data said that they were actually falling short.
  • Eight in 10 (79%) marketers and advertisers who use big data more than 50% of the time felt they were able to pick out the right audience in all or almost all of their media. This compares with just 35% of those who used it less than 50% of the time.
  • Of those who use big data to drive more than half their marketing strategies, 75% said that they were able to monetize their audience.
  • Likewise, 75% believe their company is making the right media buys, compared with just 50% of those who use big data in less than half of their programs.

There is lots more, of course, but what’s interesting is the focus not just on reaching customers and increasing revenue, but undersatnding customer behavior, including the channels most effective at reaching them.

Also interesting about this report is how it is interwoven with personal interviews and mini case studies that flesh out these issues and put the data into a real-world context.

Check it out.

 

Personalization Is More Than Data

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

When we think personalization, we think data. But as I’ve said on here many times before, data is just that — data. It’s how you use it to create relevance and engagement that makes it personal.

This point was driven home this morning as I flipped through yesterday’s mail. I ran across an envelope that appeared to be trying to be personal but in fact was downright scary. It reminded me of my dog who thinks no matter what trick you ask him to do, rolling over is better. “Shake!” (rolls over). “Sit!” (rolls over). Rolling over is more complicated and flashy, so no matter what my master asks me to do, I’m going to roll over — and he does.

CaparellasSo we have here. Real stamps make things seem more personal, so we have a real stamp. Handwriting fonts make the addressing seem more personal, so we use handwriting font. Oh, and color helps get attention, so let’s add some of that. First-class mail gets better responses than other classes of mail, so let’s draw attention to that.

The result is, well, you can see for yourself.

  • They are using a last name I haven’t had in years.
  • The barcode is located directly above my name and address, obliterating any accidental identification as real handwriting.
  • The real stamp is undermined by the tacky “print ‘em by the hundreds of thousands” graphics on the preprinted envelopes.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is tough to look at.  The point that it drives home is that personalization isn’t real stamps, handwriting fonts, or data. It’s how those elements are used to create the sense of relevance and engagement. This has multiple elements that could be used to more powerful effect. Instead, I didn’t even open the envelope.

Are you talking to clients about the difference between data and true personalization (relevance)? If so, how?

5 Reasons to Focus on Program Selling, Not One-Off Personalization

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

I love to hear about successful 1:1 print marketing campaigns. But you know what I love to hear about even more? Recurring 1:1 programs in which the PSP is able to help the client see the bigger picture and how personalization fits into it. Here are 5 reasons PSPs should be focusing on recurring programs (including lead nurturing programs) rather than one-offs:

1. The sales cycle for 1:1 campaigns tends to be much longer than for static programs.

You want to be spending your time developing and producing live marketing campaigns, not selling them.

2. Recurring programs amortize development time and cost.

Upfront time and financial investment for 1:1 campaigns can be significant. Both you and your clients will benefit from amortizing that investment over multiple campaigns or as part of a larger lead-nurturing program.

3. Recurring programs are more likely to get better results over time.

Programs tend to be more effective (translating “earn more money”) after they have been tested and refined over time than they do right out of the gate when you are basically guessing at what is most likely to work.

4. You don’t have to continually re-prove program value.

Even if a campaign is successful, you are essentially starting from scratch for each successive 1:1 program in the one-off world. In a lead nurturing or broader program, by definition, the value is in the rollout over time.

5. You are more likely to retain the account.

When I ask the question, “Why wasn’t this campaign repeated?” the number one reason I hear isn’t that the campaign wasn’t successful. It is because there is generally a champion of 1:1 printing within a given organization, and if that person leaves, the commitment to 1:1 print marketing goes with them. Once a program is in place, especially if it’s sold on an annual contract basis, you have the opportunity to retain the account long enough for the new contact to understand its value.

One-off isn’t the way to go for data-driven campaigns. Success with 1:1 is really driven by taking a longer-term view.

Do you have any points to add to this list?

3D Printing: Thoughts From Around the Industry

Friday, September 27th, 2013

It’s funny. When I post things, I never know what’s going to take off in terms of interaction and comments. I didn’t think Tuesday’s post on 3D printing would be one of them. I was wrong.

Not only have there been a nearly record number of comments on Digital Nirvana, but I shared in a variety of LinkedIn boards, as well. There, too, it caught on in a way that surprised me.

Here are some nutshells of what I’ve heard:

1. Despite the high volume of blog posts, trade magazine articles, Webinars, seminars, and other industry chatter about this process, there have only been two printing locations that were identified as actually owning 3D printers. Both are in the world of packaging.

2. There are lots of opportunities for product development in this market, but currently, it mainly consists of pioneers doing one-off projects.

3. There are those in this industry who want to call this process “printing.” Their reasoning largely — not always, but largely — revolves around its ability to create visibility and position perception for the printing industry.

I’m not sure this is a good thing. Although printing is technically considered “manufacturing” according to the U.S. Census, the general consensus is that the term carries a connotation that isn’t accurately represented by 3D printing as an additive manufacturing process. (As it was pointed out — and I agree — Scodix, lenticular, and printing on 3D objects like golf balls would be more accurately described this way.)

Giving a process an inaccurate label, even in the name of promoting and supporting the overall health the printing industry, creates confusion and distraction. Better, in my mind, to give it an accurate label that properly focuses people on the opportunities for what they truly are.

4. If there are terms that more accurately describe 3D printing, they would be “additive manufacturing” (although is one-off manufacturing really manufacturing? that’s a whole other debate) or “rapid prototyping.” One person also suggested “3D modeling.”

My favorite quote in the whole discussion comes from Erik Nikkanen, printing theory and technology development (Toronto, Canada), who said, “It is not printing unless one takes the 3D object and puts it in a hydraulic press so it can be glued to paper.”

Let’s keep the discussion going and see what else continues to shake out.

PRINT 13 Recap: Five Days of Digital

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Every four years the print industry convenes for one of its biggest events. This year’s rendition, PRINT 13, was held Sept. 8-12 at McCormick Place in Chicago. I had the privilege of attending and representing IWCO Direct with several colleagues including Frank Boncore, Director of Mailing Operations in Hamburg, Doug Brustad, Manufacturing Operations Manager, and Steve Malec, Manager of Color Technical Services. Since we know not all of you could attend, here are the high points from what was a fantastic show.

Attendance

Overall attendance was very strong and traffic was brisk throughout the floor. However, while making the rounds, it was obvious that most people gravitated toward the digital print engine suppliers, or almost anything digital. Canon, Xerox, HP, Ricoh and Fuji all had digital web presses that commanded large audiences throughout the day.

Digital Dominance

Color digital print is here. It’s young and evolving and moving rapidly. So much so that PRINT 13 could have been called Digital PRINT 13. Perhaps the most noteworthy trend was the lack of “iron” on display. With only one or two offset units at the show, and a diminished presence from giants like Heidelberg, the absence of conventional presses was a strong indication that digital is the technology of the future. Simply put, gains in print technology are now focused around harnessing data and leveraging digital print to create focused communication with the end customer. And vendors are more motivated to partner and negotiate deals to help get new equipment installed – all in search of real user feedback to improve their products and drive these innovative gains.

As color and quality are rapidly improving, coatings and paper options are also expanding. As a result, integration is everywhere from full-size presses to 4” modules. Having a sound color management process will make a considerable difference with quality and consistency on newer equipment across platforms. IWCO Direct has reflected these shifting paradigms with our new Océ ColorStream 3900®and G7® Master Qualification from IDEAlliance®.

Talked-About Tech

With several live product demonstrations throughout the week that presented real and relevant applications geared toward the integration of print and online channels, it was exciting to see all the new digital technology under one roof and compare quality, speeds, etc. in such close proximity. We were especially impressed with Océ’s new Niagara cut sheet color box that will be out in 2014. It will be capable of producing 10 million letter sized sheets (full-color digital) per month. Other exciting technologies included radio frequency identification (RFID) and printed circuit boards with real-world examples such as:

  • A printed sticker that could be put on the outside of a coffee cup to tell the temperature of the coffee inside the cup;
  • Printed circuit boards using ink made of silver or copper (to create a paper circuit board). As electronics get smaller these paper circuit boards will be used in disposable electronic gadgets or even high-end devices like Apple’s iWatch.

Final Thoughts

It was an exciting show and a great week to be in the Windy City. Vendors provided great opportunities to network and meet with new people, and we got to experience the exciting future of digital print, one that will shape our industry for years to come.

This post was provided by Steve Myrvold of IWCO Direct. Vice President of Operations. Bemidji State University. Favorite award or recognition: Being on Good Morning America to be thanked by a friend from college. Bringing the “work hard to help other people be successful” philosophy to IWCO Direct for more than 25 years. Favorite hobby: Fishing, fishing and fishing. Minnesota Vikings fan. 

Bad Marketing? Or Just Poor Judgment?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

The other day I received an email from my father who was at first baffled and then frustrated by a personalized and credible-looking “you’ve been served” letter from a local law firm. Upon closer inspection, it was actually a personalized marketing piece. But it took him until toward the end of the intimidating letter to find that out.

To the firm’s credit, my father did open it. In fact, I’m quite sure the firm got a very high open rate on this piece. But is the potential ill-will that could come from tricking recipients into thinking they’d been served by an attorney worth it? I suppose in that business, it only takes a few conversions for the piece to pay for itself. But wouldn’t positive word of mouth be better? I guess it depends on the type of client you’re looking for.

What would you have advised your client if you’d been the one to print this? Let it go? Or chime in and say something?

I received a rather unsettling envelop yesterday from a [local] law firm—personalized with my name on the “addressed to” portion of the letter inside, printed on their official stationary and letterhead.

It’s an elaborate four pages, folded into a business-sized envelope, complete with the firm’s name in bold on the return address on the front, and my address discreetly printed as would any official letter of contact would be.

It’s was a little unsettling. I didn’t know if I was being sued or what. Did I do something wrong? Am I going to need a lawyer. . . . to respond to these guys? Am I the target of someone? Do they know something I don’t? It looks disturbingly official.

The cover letter inside—on the firm’s official letterhead—however, is quick to say that they’re “introducing themselves” to “me” (my name), and eventually I’m told that they’re proffering a free legal service. But the format gives the appearance of an official contact. Even though I know what it is now, it’s still a little discomforting to look at it—a “fat” package from a legal firm—with my name on it!

It’s taken me a day, actually, to get comfortable enough with it to look at the full four pages. Now that I see what they do, it looks like a genuinely good firm, “serving the interests of [regional] residents, not corporate clients.”Also, beyond the stated purpose of “introducing themselves,” they’re offering a “free Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare” for an hour of my time. But that becomes apparent only two-thirds of the way down into the body of the letter near the end of page 1.

I guess I shouldn’t make too much of the imposing “package” now that I see what it is, except that they might have been more sensitive to how it might at first appear. Maybe a different format other than a multi-page presentation stuffed into an official business envelope, or at least a signal on the outside that it was a friendly “let us introduce ourselves” contact and “your free offer is inside” rather than an official, “you’re being served” notice. My blood pressure went up the instant I took it out of the mailbox! (It’s that feeling you get when a jury-summons appears.)

This is a case of what is probably a good business with good intentions, unintentionally upsetting its recipient. “Surprise! You may need a lawyer!” Repackaging the presentation would have gone a long way toward avoiding the opposite response of what they probably were expecting. I’m assuming they did a blanket mailing to everyone in the area There’s no reason why I should have been on their radar, other than that I have a [local] address.

Just thought of you of course . . . you couldn’t make this up: :-)

Nope! Crazy marketing just happens all by itself. . . with a little help, of course. What would you have done if a client had handed this to you? Good idea or bad idea?

Our Partnership with Canon Drives Innovation for Customers

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Post by Dave Johannes. 

Earlier this month, Canon U.S.A. celebrated the grand opening of its new 700,000 square-foot Canon Americas Headquarters in Melville, New York. I was invited to speak on behalf of IWCO Direct as the voice of a Canon customer. The event gained the interest of customers, state and local officials, industry analysts and members of the press, all of whom were welcomed by Canon and given a tour of the facility along with a sneak peak at products and services that Canon will be launching in the coming months.

Dave Johannes

Canon executives, Fujio Mitarai, chairman and CEO of Canon Inc., and Joe Adachi, president and CEO of Canon U.S.A., spoke about Canon’s enterprise, large format and production printing businesses. The event’s purpose was to allow the press and analysts to gain a further understanding of the company’s breadth of consumer, business-to-business and industrial digital imaging solutions. You can read a full report on the new era at Canon U.S.A at Whattheythink.com.

Canon is known as a leader in digital imaging solutions and has produced some of the greatest printers used today, like the Océ ColorStream® 3900, a printer we recently installed at our Chanhassen campus. This printing system not only enhances our continuous digital capacity, it expands our color gamut and gives us the ability to match a wider range of PMS colors through the new Océ premium pigment ink set.

Being in Melville and seeing the upgrades and innovations that Canon is making reminded me how vital our strong partnership is to the advancement of our businesses. Over the years, Canon has been able to provide us with cutting-edge technology and workflow tools to support our own growth and innovation as we have significantly expanded our digital capacity and capabilities..

I was asked by InfoTrends about the future of digital technology. I noted that the market for color digital presses is hot. At the velocity of adoption which color digital printing has reached, it is no longer good enough to have a great press. The new requirement is a user-friendly press that is supported by a seamlessly integrated workflow. As our clients discover new ways to leverage full variability using color, images and text, the ability to rapidly and efficiently assemble the assets and proof the output prior to production is critical.

The partnership IWCO Direct has with Canon provides mutual benefits. Their Océ devices and workflows help us create products that meet the evolving needs of our customers. In turn, we push Canon to bring us new ideas, so we are ready to meet the future needs of our customers. As we continue to expand our digital platform, we look forward to seeing what new technologies Canon will be able to offer us to better serve our customers.

 Dave Johannes is Vice President of Digital Print and Mailing Operations at IWCO Direct. Richland College and Greenville Technical College. IWCO Direct team member for more than seven years. 35-year veteran of the Industry. Graphic Communications Innovator Award and Allan J. Williamson Continuous Improvement Award winner. Personal business philosophy: “Provide leadership based on the principles and courage required to live the change and drive the results we strive for.” Loves wine tastings and cooking with his wife. Texas Rangers fan. 

PRINT 13 is on its way!

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

By now if you are even remotely involved in the printing industry you’ve likely heard of PRINT 13 – the most comprehensive global graphic communications exhibition and conference held in the largest print market in the world. This show arrives once every four year – with a “smaller” version known as Graph Expo in the off years. This year’s show promises to excite.

The scale of this show is undoubtedly massive. PRINT 13 will exhibit digital, offset, flexo, and hyrbid technologies showcasing a wide variety of applications for industries including: Commercial, Transactional, Converting and Package Printing, Publishing, Mailing, In-Plant, Photo Imaging, and Marketing Services. Exhibitors have likely been preparing for weeks, even months, to be sure that their booths stand out amongst the 550+ exhibitors.

The PRINT 13 show is themed, “Innovate, Integrate, Communicate.” The theme recognizes that the rapidly innovating printing industry is changing the way we think of print. The theme highlights print’s ability to drive multi-channel communications across a variety of industries whose communication needs are merging together. We’ve all heard the ongoing debate as to whether or not “print is dead.” While I won’t try to argue that here, the fact remains that print changes. The exhibitors at this conference are at the forefront of that change and are redefining our industry. Attending PRINT 13 is one way to keep up with everything!

So what is in it for you?

  • If you are a buyer, you have the opportunity to view the latest technologies of various vendors and seek out partnerships that can help you grow your business.
  • If you are a seller, you can interact with prospective buyers, learn about their unique needs as a customer, and facilitate mutually beneficial solutions.
  • If you are in the Converting & Packaging business, you get a 2-for-1 since the CPP Expo will take place simultaneously at the same convention center.
  • If you are an industry participant, you can network with fellow industry peers over a jam-packed 5 day week.
  • At any end of the industry, chose from a variety of expert panel sessions to learn about topics of your interest.
  • Experience the entire scope of printing products and services in live running applications reflecting the latest and greatest print technologies.

Long story short – there is a lot to see, experience, and learn at PRINT 13. I, for one, will not be missing out!

To learn more about PRINT 13, visit the show’s website here!

4 Frequently Asked Questions on Using Digital Print

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Last week we announced the installation of our new Océ ColorStream® 3900 inkjet printer, which increases our capabilities and capacity for creating highly relevant, time-sensitive direct mail campaigns. As Jim Andersen pointed out in his post on the announcement, there are special considerations for creating direct mail that will be printed digitally. Now that our new press is installed and fully operational, it seems like the perfect time to address some questions we often get asked when it comes to deciding whether digital print is right for a specific campaign:

What can digital print do better?

Digital is most effective for very targeted (one-to-few) marketing with variable text and images based on what is known about the recipient. Digital also drives more efficient use of paper with less waste. Less set-up stock is required, and form sizes are no longer restricted by press cylinder sizes. While digital can be used for more conventional campaigns with minimal text variance and static images, these campaigns are typically supported using traditional production workflows (litho printed shells/monochrome personalization).

What quantity ranges are most appropriate for digital equipment?

The selection of digital vs. offset print is based upon the most effective means of production for the product in question, taking into account the variables of cost, cycle time and quality. The decision to use digital or offset is often driven by the number of format versions and quantity per mail drop in conjunction with the monthly and/or quarterly volumes by version. Smaller quantities (from a single piece to approximately 50,000 pieces) run on our Xerox iGen4™ cut-sheet color digital equipment. Larger quantities (into the millions) are supported by our Océ ColorStream 3500 and 3900 continuous color digital equipment.

What paper considerations should we keep in mind?

Karen Weil, our director of procurement, provided an excellent summary on choosing the right paper stocks when printing either conventional or digital. She describes the key factors that play into the decision process. A key consideration is whether the job will run on a toner-based or inkjet digital press. Toner-based print tends to be a bit more forgiving, while inkjet printers work best using paper stocks that are configured specifically for them. This was a main consideration when our team traveled to Piong, Germany, where we tested the new Premium Pigment ink solution from Océ. We didn’t agree to use the new inks until we were satisfied they would support a wider color gamut and more vibrant color reproduction on multiple paper stocks.

What formats work best? Are there limitations?

Format limitations are driven more by finishing operations than by color digital production. By using our color digital equipment for printing/personalization and managing finishing operations as an off-line workflow, we are able to provide more flexibility in formats.

- See more at: http://www.iwco.com/blog/2013/08/02/digital-or-offset-print-q-a/#sthash.kmAqcIot.dpuf

Mike blogs regularly for Speaking Direct. You can find more of his posts here

Designing for Personalization

Friday, July 26th, 2013

As those involved in 1:1 printing know, moving to a dynamic, data-driven workflow requires more than the integration of data. It requires adjustments in design that accommodate the potential impact of variation in the text and graphics being flowed into the template.

For example, when you are incorporating the name of the person into the text or design, you must adjust the design so that it will accommodate the name regardless of the space it requires. A design that accommodates the name “Jane” may not accommodate “Rumplestiltskin.” What happens to the layout if one of the names is unexpectedly long? What happens if it won’t fit into the space provided?

There are myriad issues like this, so whoever is designing the piece must be aware of the issues and have a plan to accommodate them.

The same applies to images. Unless all images used in the campaign have identical dimensions, some may be vertical, others horizontal, and yet others that need to be cropped or the formatting otherwise adjusted to fit the space. Designs and protocols must be set up to accommodate design elements with sizes that will change on the fly.

I’d love to hear your stories — complicated design issues you’ve come across, how you solved a particularly thorny 1:1 design issue, or 1:1 design mistakes you’ve witnessed in other marketers’ campaigns. Please share!

The Role of Social Media for Printers

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I recently read a blog published by Willis Turner entitled “So… Is Social Media BS or Not?” You can read his blog here on Funding Success (I found the article via the Target Marketing email distribution… proof that people do click through on emails!). In his article, he reports on a conference he was at where the keynote speaker claimed that social media, is in fact, BS. This is obviously a controversial topic, especially with how strongly social media has taken off in recent years and how actively companies – both B2C and B2B – are investing in and building their social platforms. But Turner provided more analysis of the comment which got me thinking…

The power of social media is not in the tool itself. The power of social media is in how it connects with the other components of a brand’s marketing and communications campaigns. As my colleague and MarCom guru, Cindy Cumings, would say – Social Media is just one more tool in the toolkit for successful marketers. Direct mail, email, events, SEO, personal selling… if you use each tool the way it is designed, they all come together to form a powerful and cohesive statement about your company, which ultimately generates results.

Turner reminds us to look at the marketing activities which generate revenue – something that social media does not do. So this means direct mail (still bringing in a large chunk of cash flow for some organizations), email, personal selling through a sales force, etc. These components are what brings in customers, influences sales, and at the end of the day, provides a company’s revenue.

So what does this mean for printers? Printers should take a good look at what channels of communication translates into sales, and continue focusing on those. Social media can serve as a way to bolster their efforts and brand image with customers. Continue to be active on channels to promote your printing work, your brand, and your people. If someone has heard of you before, has a favorable impression of your brand, and has even seen a sample of your work online – they are far more likely to become a customer. And remember, a successful marketing program is not built on the success of one campaign, but rather it is built on the seamless coordination of multiple campaigns, channels, and activities all designed to represent your brand.

Funny: Job Lead or Not Worth the Time?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Every now and then, you just have to post something funny. My husband saw this driving down the street the other day. I keep looking at it, and sometimes there just are no words.

Job Lead or NotSo what do you think? Is this a lead on a company that really needs short-run, digitally printed signage?

I mean, the approach has some charm to it. In fact, the more I look at it, the more addictive the image becomes.

But I can’t say I’d trust the quality of their service and response.

So what do you think? If you passed this one the street, would you send a salesperson to make the call?

3D Printing: Interesting Environmental Fact

Friday, June 28th, 2013

I’m finishing up a feature article on 3D printing for one of the trade magazines, and during one of my conversations with a 3D printer tech, I discovered something interesting.

Source: Stratasys 3D

Source: Stratasys 3D

As someone used to dealing with paper, I’m not keyed in to thinking about plastic. Most commercial 3D presses use plastic or metal filament, and I wasn’t thinking much about the difference between PLA filament and ABS filament. Only that PLA filament was available in fewer colors (10 colors for Makerbot, for example, compared to 25 for ABS).

PLA is made of biodegradable material. You can plant it in your garden. ABS is made of petrochemicals. It won’t degrade for thousands of years in a landfill. When you are talking about creating an entirely new market (and demand) for plastic products, the difference is significant. Retail pricing on the two types of filament — at least from Makerbot, which posts its prices right on its website — is similar if not identical.

If you have a choice between biodegradable and non-biodegradable raw materials, which would you choose? Granted, most people throw biodegradable plastics into the trash anyway, and once in the landfill, they act pretty much like regular plastic. But if you’re using 3D-printed products as promotions or incentives, why not hang a tag on them that says, “I’m biodegradable! Compost me!”?

For some, 3D-printed promotions and incentives will simply replace, in terms of volume, traditionally created products. Even if you can reduce the volume going into the landfill incrementally by using 3D-printed PLA versions, that’s a good thing. If you’re going to be adding plastic into the waste stream by using 3D printing to get into new markets, then it just seems to be the right thing to do.

Now for the interesting fact. In the United States, the PLA filament is made of a corn starch derivative. After all, we grow a lot of corn here. In Europe, however, the starch derivative is potato. In Asia, it’s rice. It makes me glad to live in a corn-bountiful country because, according to the service tech I spoke to, “when you are printing with it, it smells like waffles.” I like waffles.

 

OOPS! Messed Up . . . What Would YOU Do?

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Oops! Thrifty Car Rental, whose case studies of great, personalized marketing have shown up around the industry (and even in my posts on Digital Nirvana, most likely) has made a boo-boo.

According to an AP report, Thrifty sent out an email offer for “rent 16 days, get 1 day rental free” not to the select list of customers it intended, but to the entire list. This included non-customers who had simply signed up to receive emails from the company.  Now because the story has gone out on AP, its mistake has been magnified even more.

The company rescinded its offer, and from what I can gather, it didn’t offer any kind of mea culpa discount coupon or anything else. Just the apology for the mistake.

Great companies often turn marketing disasters into profit wins if they handle it right. It’s not unusual to hear of companies who end up earning more from a blown campaign through a well-handled apology than they would have from the original campaign itself.  So what might Thrifty do?

First, I am curious why it didn’t simply honor the offer. I would be surprised if a 16-1 offer created an actual loss, so why not let it stand? Avoiding potential inventory issues? I don’t know.

Another option would be to craft a great, personalized direct mailer both to the originally intended list and to another, broader selection of existing customers. Apologize again for the mistake, but indicate that they  — specifically, using their name — were part of a select group for which the offer would be honored. “Not everyone is getting this offer!” This creates that sense of privilege and exclusivity. Obviously, print is costs more than email, but it also carries more weight in terms of sincerity, trust, and relationship (which the company could probably use right now).

If you were Thrifty’s MSP, what would you suggest?

 

With an Offer Like This, You’d Better Spell the Name Right!

Friday, June 14th, 2013

A client of mine sent me this funny example of personalization gone wrong. It came from his graphic designer, who had received a very personalized offer — her name emblazoned across the front of a variety of pieces of apparel.

Fun apparel JUST FOR YOU!

Featuring the name JAUTELIER!

Order early for Father’s Day!

The card showed a variety of style of outerwear emblazoned with the designer’s name, including one with a very cool graffiti design that read, “It’s a JAUTELIER thing!”

Jautlier

Cool design. Cool idea. Problem is, her last name is Gautelieri.

When personalizing a marketing piece, it’s always important to get the spelling of the recipient right. But in this case . . . that just hurts!