Archive for March, 2014

Profile Before You Personalize

Want to achieve higher levels of success with your 1:1 (personalized) printing campaigns? Profile before you personalize! What does this mean? It means understanding what your customers look like as aggregate demographic or psychographic groups before you send targeted mailings or personalize to them as individuals.

As a very simplified example, each age demographic has different needs and preferences and will respond differently to different types of messaging. Thus you might want to profile your customer base by age. By running a very simple analysis, for example, you might find that your customer base looks like this:

  • 18-34 years old (38%)
  • 35-49 years old (24%)
  • 50-64 years old (18%)
  • 65+ years old  (20%)

This tells you something. Your customers are heavily skewed toward the younger demographic. Was this a surprise to you? Why do you think this is? Is your product equally useful to an older audience? If so, how could you position it differently to appeal those demographics? Profiling gives you critical information about how to tweak your message.

Likewise, consumers behave differently based on where they live. Consumer attitudes in New Hampshire will vary considerably from those in the Deep South. Red States and Blue States may have very different preferences and attitudes about certain issues, products, and services.

Look at other characteristics, as well. Where do your customers prefer to shop with you (brick-and-mortar store or online)? What marketing channels do they respond to (direct mail, e-mail or SMS text messaging)?

Once you understand the profile of your customer base, you can compare these profiles against well-known demographic and psychographic patterns to anticipate how they might behave and what types of messaging they are most likely to respond to. This allows you to craft your approach to be most effective for different segments of your customer base.

So profile before you personalize!

Position Yourself as an Expert

No matter what business you’re in, you are the expert in something. Establishing yourself as an authority gives you a coveted status that places you head and shoulders above your competition. It also builds loyalty with your client base and generates interest from prospects. But how do you establish expert status? Here are a few ideas.


Believe you are an expert, then claim it. You don’t have to have all of the answers to be an expert. No one does. So claim your status and give yourself a title such as process specialist, systems consultant, or subject matter expert.


Narrow your focus to a specific industry, demographic or topic. For example, instead of promoting yourself as a general marketing guru, focus on a specific market segment, such as the manufacturing industry or technology users.


Develop a press kit. A two-pocket folder can work wonders. Insert a letter describing your role as a media contact or guest speaker. Include your biography and a fact sheet tailored to showcase your knowledge. Keep sales literature to a minimum here. Establish yourself as a serious, credible authority, not as a peddler of a particular product or service.


Establish credibility with print. People believe what they read. Showcase your expertise with newsletters, white papers, and special reports. Educate, don’t sell. Send kits to media outlets and industry publications so you are top of mind when they are doing coverage in your area of expertise.


Join the speaker’s circuit. Give lectures, host seminars, hold workshops, or teach a class. Start local, then look for regional and national opportunities. Host a session at the annual meeting of your trade association.


Host a blog. Most experts have blogs these days. Blogs also give you entry into the world of social media and boost your SEO.


There is work involved in expert positioning, but it can be a powerful element of a comprehensive marketing and strategic communications plan. Expert status also gives you a unique selling proposition, a reason for customers to choose your company over your competitor.

1:1 Print Beats Online for Relevance

If you want inexpensive, real-time communications, online marketing can be a powerful tool. But if you want highly relevant marketing communications that consumers respect, then personalized print is the way to go.

In a survey of more than 1,200 people conducted for ad:tech London by Zussi Research, 69% percent of respondents saw traditional advertising as relevant to them, compared with 45% for online marketing. Respondents also described online marketing as “chaotic.” This reflects how misdirected and intrusive ads can create a high level of annoyance, even when those efforts are supposedly targeted.

Compare this to print. Databases tend to be more accurate and targeting more focused. Personalized print earns consumers’ trust and respect. Consumers also appreciate the purposeful investment print requires in the marketer’s relationship with them. It creates a sense that that they are valued.

So while you may want to expand your marketing to include some electronic channels, don’t make the mistake of replacing print with alternative media. Instead, personalize it!

Capitalize on consumers’ positive perception of print to differentiate yourself as a company that cares about your customers in a way that consumers often perceive online advertisers don’t. Then build on that perception with relevant, personalized communications they’ll remember and respect!

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