As we speak, I am writing up a variable-data adoption report for Pira, a research firm out of the United Kingdom set to release comprehensive global data on 1:1 page volumes from 20011- 2017. The data looks at 1:1 printing from all applications, not just direct mail, and as soon as I can release some highlights, I will. I just love this kind of thing!
As part of that write-up, I’m gathering my thoughts on the current status of marketplace attitudes and remaining challenges. What’s interesting is how they have evolved since the last time I did a brain dump like this.
Years ago, the big limitation, of course, was the adoption of digital presses. You can’t do variable data without a digital press. Then it was the lack of customer databases and the condition of those databases. That challenge still exists, but more companies are working with databases and developing those skills than ever before. Willingness is no longer the problem.
Instead, there are two elephants in the room.
First is data silos. Marketers are ready and willing to work with databases more than ever before, but the fact that the data is siloed throughout the company is hampering the ability of willingness to become action.
Second is that successful 1:1 personalization is increasingly dependent upon its incorporation into a broader multi-channel strategy. Your success or failure with 1:1 print can depend heavily on other non-print elements, such as email, mobile, and social media. (Hey, no fair!)
After last week’s post about multi-channel marketing, I got a phone call from Joe Manos of MindFire and we had a fascinating discussion on this entire subject.
“Every call, I start talking to customers about the silos,” he commiserated. “From the smallest to the largest in the U.S., they all admit freely that they are struggling with it.”
He talked about speaking before a group of top salesmen for one of the largest CRM software companies about using data to pre-qualify leads and the opportunities offered by closed-contact marketing.
“I was amazed how sophisticated they are—with hundreds of thousands of users across the globe—but also how much they have to learn. Even they are struggling with it,” he said.
What can you do? As multi-channel marketing increasingly becomes the norm, the number of channels and the number of silos is going to become more and more problematic. So get help. Whether that comes in the form of a data partner, equipment or software vendor, consultant, or industry association, reach out. Set in place your strategy for helping clients tear down and integrate those silos while the number of silos is still manageable!