I imagine from my headline you may be curious of how an Audience of One could be so powerful. Simply put, the thought has been around since the mid 1990’s and yet has mostly been ignored. An Audience of One is for personalization, or variable selection based upon marketing to a known person one on one knowing what they want is what we offer. If nothing else, the Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the way we market, the way we do business, the way we work– in short the way we communicate. We see this almost everywhere, but mostly we can find personalization benefits in our mail marketing, our wide format operations, digital and inkjet printing, digital foil stamping, and laser etching. The potential opportunities for personalization is only limited by our imagination.
Personalization matters now more than ever. Marketers have found that social media does not always tie to a person’s address or to their interests, and worse yet, unless it piques their particular interest or subject, they ignore the post. E-marketing is far worse due to ease of deletion and the overload of the digital communication. Millennials want direct mail: 54% look forward to receiving retail catalogs; 49% wish more of the companies they use had catalogs; 40% buy more when they receive a catalog, and 32% said they would buy less without a catalog. Studies have proven that physical touchpoints like postcards, mail, catalogs leave a deeper neurological imprint across all generations.
So what is Audience of One? We need to do a better job of defining our customers and future customers. We need know who they are, where they are, their characteristics to reduce your cost by not mailing to the masses and to pinpoint your targets. Spend a little extra time and cost to fine tuning your mail lists and personalize your mail to them, more than just their name outside with the address but inside the letter or message. Include images. Make it theirs.
A good creative design makes a huge impact on the readership of envelopes or postcards. This also helps your piece to look more personal and to stand out by being a different size than regular mail. By using colored envelopes, special techniques such as metallic inks (not in the address) or foil, a good creative piece personalized will get more attention. A recent NAPCO Media report recently said that personalization delivers five to eight times the ROI and the same report further stated that 50% of marketers using personalization saw a response increase of better than 10%.
The best results are multichannel marketing plans that include personalized direct mail, e-marketing, social media, combined with QR Codes, Augmented Reality, on-line presence and other media. Combining direct mail with the marketing campaign will drive more sales to the customer website. Customers often keep the mail piece/catalog to use to reference when placing the order and usually keep it for future orders. Back in the 1990’s, a sales association of the print operation I was the production manager for once said he wanted to put something in an envelope that wouldn’t weigh anything that would bring in additional value. Little did we know that 12 years later we would have just that with QR Codes and now Augmented Reality and some Virtual Reality. When you use these devices be sure that they get the respondent to take action. Direct them to a web page that will engage them to take action, see video, hear your message and sign up or place an order.
Now the pandemic has prompted other changes to our culture and created more opportunities that haven’t normally been personalized. And with the advent of the new inkjet age, wide format, digital engraving, and the ability to foil stamp digitally, it created new opportunities, especially with personalization. My print operation in Texas provided personalized foil stamped numbered tickets for events. We started to make and market producing wall murals and custom window treatments. Now there is a demand for personalized banners for birthdays, and custom awards that are printed or digitally engraved with lasers. Companies are personalizing photo-postcards, yearbooks, photo books, playing cards. You can walk in some retail operations and print your own banner, poster, pictures. Some printers have Kiosks in malls for customers to place orders through uploading art and guided through the specifications. With the proper equipment and planning, you can find ways of personalizing so that you reap the benefits of the Power of the Audience of One.
We as printers owe it to ourselves, but mostly to our customer, to help them think outside of the box, way out in some instances. In doing so, we need to have prepared plans and methods that help improve their ROI on their efforts. Our health comes directly from the health of our customers. Be proactive, bring new solutions through new offerings, help them to know investing in highly defined and refined mail lists will in the end save postage. This is wanted by their customer and with multichannel devices working in conjunction, will save them money while earning them new customers. That is what we are all looking for– new customers, new opportunities.
John Yerger has been in printing all of his life starting with a family newspaper and Printshop. John has worked in almost every aspect of printing from hot type to cold, letterpress, flexography and offset, sheet-fed and roll-fed. With over 35 years in private sector printing and 13 years of experience in higher education, John has more 28 years of senior management experience specializing in growing and restructuring print operations to maximize profits and revenues.
He has used his experience to consult with other operations to better manage their workflow and make their operations more productive in Texas and Arkansas. Under John’s management, Stephen F. Austin State University earned the 2014 IPMA Print Center of the Year Award. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Printing Services hosted the IPMA Roadshow in 2019. John supervises printing, 3 digital printing centers, promotional products, over 480 MFD’s, and Mail services with a staff of 48. John has increased sales volume and been ranked in the top 10 higher education in-plants in the last four years increasing revenue for 3 of his 4 years at UNL, creating a self-sustaining operation.