I just released updates to two reports — “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype” and “1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance” (both cover dated April 2009). As I did so, I was thinking about how frequently I’ve updated these reports and how it’s not frequent enough.
There is enough change in this industry that I could probably update every one of the reports in the series every month. It’s exhausting sitting around, drinking coffee, and making observations from my arm chair. Gotta tell you, my heart goes out to the printers and marketing firms who are actually implementing these things.
What’s new this round? I wish I could say it’s nit-picking things — you know, updating for the sake of updating — but you tell me
In personalized URLs, the convergence of Web-to-print, 1:1 printing, personalized URL, and multi-channel marketing technologies is a game-changer. If you’re not thinking multi-channel, you’re missing the boat. There are a lot of marketers out there still being successful with standalone personalized URL campaigns, but for how long? That’s not where the long-term growth and success — on either the marketer or printer side of the aisle — will be.
In 1:1 printing (whether personalized URLs or any other type of personalized print), we’re now dealing with the evolution of higher quality inkjet printing, more sophisticated personalization on the outside of envelopes, and competition from other forms of personalization such as real or simulated handwriting (I can’t believe my Expert Business Source column on this topic has been reprinted in hard copy publications twice — who’d think?).
Then there is the continued evolution in user-friendly database analytics (can we even say that?) and the ability to do basic analytics in Access and Excel, along with new Internet-based interfaces for simplified customer profiling from companies like Accudata, which are also game-changers in their own way.
Data analytics isn’t just for big companies with IT departments anymore, and in this economy, do you really want to throw your marketing dollars down the tubes? All the personalization in the world isn’t going to help if you’re marketing to the wrong customers, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way. Marketers need to understand that.
Sometimes, I’d like to stop the evolution and just get off for awhile. But the truth is, I can get off anytime I want. The evolution is just going to continue to go on without me. Any one of us who dares to try to step off just needs to make sure that when we want to get back on, we’ll still be able to catch a foothold.