Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Personal Direct Marketing

When I get junk mail, if I've never seen it before, I'll glance at it . If it's something of no interest to me, I throw it away immediately. Sometimes I will get junk mail with my personal name on it. I am not impressed with this, because I know that it isn't really a personal correspondence. It is just someone who wants something from me. But if I am interested in the subject matter, it almost comes across as if they considered my needs.

According to The Industry Measure/TrendWatch Graphic Arts 68% of catalog publishers who have worked on variable data printing projects have used it for promotional marketing materials, while 42% have used it for customized/personalized catalog cover content in the summer of 2006. In the fall of 2006, 79% of digital printers working on variable data printing (VDP) projects said those projects were primarily commercial (i.e., direct mail, etc.) as opposed to transactional (invoices, statements, etc.). It seems that marketing with variable printing makes a lot of sense. It seems that marketers really want to make personal contact with their audiences. And there is good logic to that assertion.

However, in my own experience, what I really want is communication that pertains to my interest. Which would I rather have? Personalized advertising with no relevance to me, or anonymous mailings that interest me? I'll take the anonymous mail that interests me.

I think that is why permission marketing is becoming so popular. It is the premise that people who voluntarily sign up to receive email or specific advertising-offers are more likely to purchase whatever the sender is selling. That makes sense, since people don't like to waste their time.

And since people don't like to waste their time, it is important to remember that it doesn't matter what technology is used compared to applying solid principles of direct-mail advertising. Whether advertising comes by way of an anonymous flyer or a personalized brochure, it is only as good as the mailing list. And the mailing list is only as good as those who want to be on it. And once it is delivered to the right audience, it must quickly make the case that it is credible, reliable, and competent for that audience to seriously consider its offer.

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