If You Haven’t Tested Personalization, Why Not?

By | September 30, 2010

This morning, Target Marketing reported on Archive Director Paul Bobnak’s latest analysis of the expansive Who’s Mailing What archives.

Of significant interest to Digital Nirvana readers is Bobnak’s finding that — in the first six months of 2010 –personalization of direct mail increased 19 percent over all of 2009. “Used in 35 percent of direct mail, it’s more important than ever to help make mail relevant for the prospect,” Target noted.

I knew that. And you knew that. And my guess is that in the second half of 2010 even more direct marketers will confirm that. So what’s the hold up?

The first of Bobnak’s findings about direct mail trends in 2010 explains why personalization percentages aren’t even more dramatic: to wit, the finding that “Repeat mail, or controls, are up 12 percent in 2010 and now represent a full quarter of all direct mail. Reasons stretch from mailers being budget-conscious to staying with efforts that are clearly working.”

In other words, nervous mailers are entrenched in “what works” to the point they’re afraid to even test personalization. They’ve heard it works – they even believe it works – but, in this milieu of overworked staff and financially freaked CFO’s, personalized direct mail (with its higher upfront investment) is an easy “test” to avoid.

Let’s think a bit differently. Among the figures Bobnak uncovered, I’d wager that, among the 35% of “personalized” proponents you’ll find the direct marketers with the most successful results. Right?

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One thought on “If You Haven’t Tested Personalization, Why Not?

  1. Michael Simmons


    Not only do we test and send enough direct mail to keep our local post office in business, we’re out front waving the banner for direct mail. At VLG, we believe you should go a step further by handwriting addresses, including dimensional components and most importantly, using personalized URLs. You’ve spend so much time and money on the mailer that you should extend the users’ experience to the web and turn that audience into brand evangelist via Flash micro-sites, social media and opt-in email. Personalization is the future and if a marketer is willing to step outside a comfort zone they might be amazed by the results. Great post!

    Michael Simmons
    President, VLG Adversiting

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