Playful forms of image personalization, like names built in the snow or alphabet soup, are nothing new in the marketing sphere. They might be surprising at first sight, but they quickly lose their attraction and provide no value.
But there are forms of personalization for print products that are eye-catching as well as useful for the recipient: for example geo-personalized local and navigation maps that are customized for individual needs.
The world’s leading provider of those local and navigation maps in print quality is locr GmbH, based in Braunschweig – Germany. We talked to Business Development Manager Thomas Schnettler about how geo-personalization can be used in customer communication and what technologies are relevant in this context.
Thomas, the advantage of individual and personalized customer communication for mailings and other print products is obvious. But how does this work in practice? Are businesses and marketers using all their potential?
Thomas: First of all, let me say that personalization in marketing and customer communication is no longer a niche product. The Individual form of address in direct mailings is a standard and content like product offers and the whole design is customized to fit a certain target group. If you are sending out a standardized mass mailing, you nearly have no chance to be recognized by your target group. So creating an emotional connection is an important tool in communication – but requirements are rising. For the future, being successful means not only making a connection but also a precise advantage for the recipient.
How does such an advantage look like?
Thomas: Most businesses and service providers own many and mostly detailed information about their customers. This goes beyond the name of the recipient – age and sex can also be very useful for marketing. But we at locr are specialized on another subject of personalization: geo-individualization.
Let me give you a precise example:
A big car rental service wants to promote a new branch and sends out a mailing to its business partners in the region. In the past, a standard map cutout with the location of the branch highlighted on the map was printed on the mailing piece. Today, we can benefit from new technical possibilities to print the individual route from each customer’s address to the car rental branch. This map creates a dialog between the customer and the company.
So you create individual routing plans?
It is not really about doing the route planning for the customer. It’s more about overcoming the barriers of communication and showing the customers that you are there for them as a person. Further it not only has to be the route from the recipients address to the service provider.
The locr LOCALmap provides another form of personalization that highlights the location of a business or event with individual pins or business logos.
The LOCALmap’s cutout is customized for the recipient. The already addressed locr NAVImap provides another form of personalization – routing maps with a highlighted route from the recipient’s address to the promoted location. Start and finish point can be marked with individual business logos or icons. Last but not least the locr MULTImap gives another variation of personalized maps, that consists of several detailed views of a local or routing map. It is used whenever a single map is not giving enough detail and certain locations or starting and finish point shall be displayed separately.
Is it very complex for businesses and marketing agencies to prepare their data for geo-personalization? And to what extend do printers have to be prepared or specialized to process these data?
Thomas: The process is not more complicated than any other form of database direct marketing. Businesses that use a CRM-system for instance, already have the necessary information in a compact form. Finally, we just need an address list with information on the street name, house number, ZIP code and city to generate personalized maps.
For printers geo-personalization is quite easy: locr provides them the map in a printable JPG-file. As for this the geo-personalization is no different than other forms of variable data print like image personalization.
We have worked together with many printers on geo-personalized customer mailing – without any problems or delays. Certainly it’s an advantage if the printer is already specialized on variable data print.
What about the costs for geo-personalized mailings? Are these highly personalized campaigns paying off?
Thomas: As I said, it’s hard to reach customers with standardized mass mailings. So how can you estimate the price for this kind of action if it is produced on a low-price basis but ends unread in the trash?
It has long been proven that recipients engage longer and more intensely if the mailing piece is of relevance to them. So if we build the bridge to the next branch or location more quickly – the marketing piece will increase the response rate. That’s what I mean when I speak of the advantage of personalized elements.
And don’t forget the positive effect on pricing even for a large print run. The price per page in reel fed printing – especially with Inkjet-production – is remarkably lower than just a few years ago with sheet fed. This is just another additional argument for using the advantages of geo-personalization.