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Personalization Is More Than a First Name

Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Personalization Is More Than a First Name," refers to a recent NAPCO Research Study depicting the use of personalization in direct mail.  Throughout all marketing endeavors, it comes down to engagement rates, and most importantly, response rates.  In this report, you'll discover that marketer campaigns were evenly split between personalized, segmented, and mass mailing initiatives.  An analysis found that highly personalized campaigns received response rates as high as 17% across select market verticals. The NAPCO Research project entitled "Personalization Is Pushing the Envelope" captures the responses of 1,300 marketers to deliver eye-opening data. This data suggests that when true personalization is deployed over and above the single name-only personalization that many define as personalization, the results are more than adequate.  An analysis of the data revealed that 34% of marketers' print campaigns fell into the "mass media" category, while 35% targeted one-to-one campaigns, and the remaining 31% were segmented campaigns.

Our Quote of the Day:  "I'm most passionate about personalization. I firmly believe that personalized experiences with brands will most drive loyalty and relevance for customers in the future." - Katrina Lake

Highly Personalized Mail Wins

The NAPCO report also states that while most respondents were executing name-only personalization, 27% of them were incorporating "highly personalized" mailings. These mailings were in categories that opted to include variable images, text, or large portions of the messaging to invoke a fully dynamic approach. Further, 26% percent were personalizing their mailings with custom text and call-to-action offers.  If you're wondering which industries were using highly personalized mail campaigns in this report, the following were the leading sectors:

  • Financial services (36%)
  • Retail (29%)
  • Manufacturing (27%)
  • Media/entertainment (26%)
  • Nonprofit (20%)

Retailers Received Highest Response Rates

Retailers reported the largest response rate increase on average. 55% experienced increased response rates when using personalization, representing a 17% increase above static direct mail. That said, retailers were least likely to ascertain if personalization was effective. Further, just 22% stated they could not determine if using personalization positively moved the response rate needle. Given that feedback, one can argue that a tracking process needs to be in place to measure the efficacy of personalized direct mail campaigns for retail.

NAPCO Research also uncovered what hinders marketing teams and brands from using more personalized direct mail marketing. Retailers site multiple issues and several factors that preclude their desire to invest in more personalization. The challenges were budgeting considerations, difficulty maintaining a database system, costs, a deficiency of actionable data, and insufficient staff expertise.

Fast Forward to 2021

Due to the impact of COVID-19 across a plethora of situations, including changing consumer habits, the emergence of the work-from-home economy, supply chain disruption, overwhelming digital usage, price gouging, and other socioeconomic factors, marketing has become particularly challenging.
The pre-Covid-19 personalization direct mail usage, which was already on a growth projection, has gained tremendous value because of its ability to reach people who are now entrenched in a home-oriented lifestyle. A review of why several sectors were not investing more in highly personalized direct mail, which now has more value, is due primarily to inadequacies on multiple levels.

However, a full-service print and mail solutions printing organization that has amassed the expertise, staff, infrastructure, digital print presses, and secure data lifecycle management competence is worth another look especially, as a full-service provider can also offer mailing and tracking mechanisms under one roof. These services can alleviate many of the concerns marketers cited in previous years.

We often post informative articles covering a range of trending business, marketing, and consumer matters, without tooting our own horn. However, we feel compelled to break that cycle for this post.  Dove Direct is a full-service, integrated solutions provider. We have been in business for more than 34 years and can say without hesitation that our offerings can help create and deliver effective, highly personalized direct mail campaigns. Our solutions include data management, variable data printing, lettershop and fulfillment, mailing, digital scanning, tracking, delivery confirmation, and secure data management. We have created campaigns for small, medium, and enterprise organizations, including the US Government. Therefore, Dove Direct should be on your list of personalized print mail providers when deciding to outsource a project.

The Nonprofit and Insurance Sector

Philadelphia Insurance Companies, a noteworthy leading provider of nonprofit insurance, recently presented a research report in partnership with NonProfit PRO and NAPCO Research, highlighting insurance trends in the nonprofit sector.

This research report, entitled "Challenges, Opportunities, and Insurance Buying Trends in the Nonprofit Industry – 2021," analyzed insurance and nonprofits' highest priorities and buying behaviors.  According to the survey respondents, the three most critical challenges are: 

  • Increased competition for fundraising dollars
  • Resuming in-person events/activities due to the pandemic
  • Donor acquisition

It is not surprising that COVID-19 is responsible for enacting a sizable expense on the nonprofit sector. In-person fundraising opportunities and live events have all but disappeared. This has led to thwarting the development of donor and volunteer relationships, which is now more challenging than ever. According to 55% of the respondents, a reduction in volunteer engagement led the way as the dominant impact caused by the pandemic, followed by donor engagement at 54%.

The report also states that the primary strategy to increase charitable giving would require a shift to placing more fundraising activities across digital platforms:

  • 51% said they are planning to shift to online and social media channels
  • 48% plan to invest in the development of a donor base
  • 47% are considering emerging technologies, such as mobile and digital communications

Solving Nonprofit and Insurance Sector Challenges

We understand the rush to digital platforms to salvage sales and engagement opportunities lost due to the pandemic. We also note that these problems are not exclusive to the Nonprofit and Insurance sectors but many industries and supply chains. That said, personalized direct marketing makes total sense, given the overrun of digital communications across multiple platforms. If the industry cannot meet face-to-face, if zoom-fatigue has set in, or 10,000 impressions per day via email and banners are too much to overcome, direct mail marketing is the best option.

When we consider that the work-from-home economy is near 50% or higher, that should ring an alarm bell! The most competitive way to reach these workers is via highly personalized mail. Highly personalized direct mail marketing can even improve digital platform results, with measurability and tracking built-in. A marketing strategy that includes highly personalized direct mail in combination with digital marketing is a no-brainer win-win!

For one, it reaches the target recipient in the comfort of their home and does not have to compete with thousands of offers on a digital device. Secondly, the direct mail piece can effectively direct recipients to specific digital platform channels, thus increasing the likelihood that these recipients will navigate directly to your web page unencumbered by the rash of digital bytes clawing for attention.

The Net-Net

It appears that COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, according to Dr. Fauci. We will be facing some form of the disease for the foreseeable future, or at least into 1Q22. That said, as we continue to evaluate the best way forward when it comes to sales and marketing communications, brands may require a double-edged sword to not only achieve sales goals but to surpass these goals. Digital marketing is a necessary marketing tool, but the question remains, "Can digital alone be enough to sustain or increase marketshare?" Depending on the industry, product, solution, or service, organizations will have to make that call out of necessity. The furtherance of that same frame of mind would be to ask, "Can highly personalized direct mail marketing contribute to reaching or surpassing the goals, and will that marketing tactic enhance the digital initiative response rates?" Finally, marketers should have a track and measure mechanism in place regardless of the tactics chosen so that the research, creative, and results deliver as measured versus flying by the seat of intuition. Thanks for reading "Personalization Is More Than a First Name!"

Let's talk about integrated business solutions and how they can move your messages forward, help grow your business, change behavior, and improve the customer experience. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce costs, and maximize your organization's printing, letter shop, and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct has an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices to save you time and money. We can even create a demo file for you. For more information, call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Dove Direct, your Atlanta vertical integrated print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions: 

  • Data Management
  • Variable Digital/Data Printing
  • LetterShop and Fulfillment 
  • Digital Mail Scanning Services
  • Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau
  • Marketing and Production Management Support
  • Secure Data Life Cycle Management


If you don't want to wait, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or complete the Contact Form.

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