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The Importance of Personalization

We’re preparing the most recently-fielded NuVoodoo PPM Prospects Study now for release to NuVoodoo clients gearing up for the fall ratings periods. We’ll also be sharing highlights during a panel at the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta. In these latest data we again see the tremendous power of direct mail as a point of contact with this special group of consumers prone to accepting a meter.

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It makes even more sense since Nielsen’s dance with potential panelists now begins at the mailbox. If you’re the type of person who’ll pay attention to their letter, it follows that you’re the sort of person who’ll pay attention to offers that arrive in your mailbox.

The challenge to stations is how to get their messages to stand out from the many pounds of direct mail delivered to a home each year. Direct mail experts know that if it looks like junk, it will be treated like junk. Great design is an imperative, but even more importantly, direct mail offers must be relevant to be effective.

Increasing the relevance to the consumer is key. A design that appeals to the taste of the recipient is important. Featuring images of music artists a recipient loves will help get a music radio station’s message noticed. Keep in mind, artists people like by name may be different from photos of artists they like. It’s critical to use the right images.

A contest prize couched in language that appeals specifically to that consumer’s needs, desires, preferences or attitudes will help cut through mailbox clutter. Cash can be couched in so many different ways for so many different types of people. Is this consumer likely to be engaged by imagining using the cash for a vacation? A home repair? A car loan? Shopping spree? Big Data can give you access to the answers.

And, today, personalization is critical to helping answer the recipient’s internal question, “Do I give a crap about this?” All of the elements above help to personalize the piece.  But, adding the recipient’s name as a prominent factor in the artwork on the piece has been shown to lift response rates sharply.

Anyone who’s been through the college selection process with a child in recent years knows the tumult and stress put on kids today. But, the competition is fierce on the other side as well. Colleges spend heavily to get on to the short lists of prospective students. High school juniors and seniors drown in email and other digital marketing from colleges. And the higher education assault continues at the mailbox, where parents are likely to sift through as many as a dozen pieces of mail for their students every day.

One of the NuVoodoo team members has a son now starting his high school senior year. While the mailbox assault has been relentless, much of it goes directly into the trash – irrelevant to his digitally-savvy son. One piece, however, remains prominent in the son’s bedroom. It’s from a highly-selective university, with his first name rendered large in the school’s Fette Fraktur font across a field of glossy white. That bit of personalization saved their piece from the trash and elevated the school from a “maybe” to a “definitely” on the list of schools to which he’ll apply. Not bad for the additional effort of using variable digital printing instead of offset printing and effectively managing their massive database.

It’s the sort of campaign that NuVoodoo brings to bear for its direct mail clients, because with stakes high and budgets tight, it’s critical to use every 21st Century advantage available in pursuit of better ratings.

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