So last week a few of our team members spent the week in New York City for the Advertising Specialty Institute trade show as exhibitors. Our booth showcased wrapping paper that can be branded with anything you could imagine, photos, logos, even individual names. Our blog discussed some great ideas for personalized promotional gifts, and we saw many of those things (and more!) at the trade show. So, it begs the question… Is branded wrapping paper, mugs, shoes or lollipops enough? Of course not.

It’s no longer a question if a company’s marketing efforts are going to be tailored to the recipient, from those great gifts to a company’s direct mail campaign… It’s all going to feature a form of personalization. We’ve come to expect it. I challenge you to look at the next ten emails or direct mail pieces you receive. Do they mostly feature your name? I bet they do. In fact, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, 81% of consumers say they receive more marketing materials that include their name than they did five years ago. Likewise, if you look in your cupboard or on your desk, there is probably at least one branded coffee mug or pen.

With the advances in technology, such as variable data printing or automated emails, it’s no longer a chore to place an individual’s name on something. Most companies make this a staple in their marketing efforts. So how do we take this to the next level?

1. Make suggestions.

As companies, we collect information about a customer without even realizing it. We see what they buy, when they buy it, and if you are an eCommerce store, when they are looking at it and how many times. This data can all be measured and used to properly reach out to these customers with recommendations or coupons for a specific item. Customers are 56% more likely to return to an online store if the store recommends products.

2. Capitalize on add on services.

The car industry is a great example of this. Advances in variable data printing have significantly decreased the cost of being able to tailor each direct mail piece to a specific customer. If you purchase from a dealership, you may start receiving regular correspondent postcards featuring a picture of your exact make and model car as well as the service that needs to be rendered on it. If I am a Honda Civic driver, I don’t want a postcard with a Honda Ridgeline on it, simple as that.

3. Interact on the customer’s terms.

Personalization does not necessarily only revolve around printing or placing the correct variables. It’s also tailoring marketing efforts. You may start off a target market with a defined communication channel, such as direct mail, but later learn some individuals prefer email. Switching up your communication channel to fit the needs and wants of the client further cements your brand in the minds of the consumer.

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