Can Personalizing by City Be More Effective Than by Name?

By | October 15, 2015

The other day, I received a personalized postcard that caught my eye and made me think. It was a beach scene, with brightly colored beach chairs across the front. I live in the heartland, so at first I thought perhaps it was a travel promotion. The headline read, “Just our way of saying thanks, Bellefonte.” At that point, I figured it probably wasn’t.

It was a strange mish-mosh of things, but one thing made me turn it over and read the back: Bellefonte. Beach image or not, the headline told me that this related to our area. Turns out, it was a brand awareness campaign for one of 16 eye care centers in the region. I had been invited to bring the card in to my local office for $50 off sunglasses. (Ah, there’s the connection to the beach chairs!)

IMG_5102What made me think was the use of Bellefonte instead of Heidi.  I wondered, Would I have turned the card over if the card had used my name instead? The honest answer is probably not. I get inundated with “personalized” direct mail using my name. Everyone does it, so the use of “Heidi” would have meant nothing to me. But the use of the town did. This was something local.

There were a lot of things that were not so great about this promotion, but I did read it. It made me wonder: How often do we default to the use of someone’s name as the easy form of personalization when there might be another variable that is more effective? Geographic targeting can be highly effective, too.

With name personalization becoming all but ubiquitous, it’s more important than ever to think about other readily available targeting that may be effective, too.

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