But this is not a new area. Printers have always produced personalised items for their customers. Why? Because as a tactile element of your marketing mix, it works.
In a digital word you can create a very personal customer experience through email and social media channels. Always great to receive a targeted message or offer but these are transient. Able to reach you and relevant at that moment but gone in seconds.
Create value to encourage retention
In recent times email has become the preferred communication channel. But it’s a very crowded market-place. For most of us it’s really easy to spam out those emails you don’t want to see again. Which makes it difficult to deliver any more messages to your target audience.
What you really want to do is encourage your customers to retain information that is relevant to them. Enter direct mail and a world of possibilities.
The nature of a mailing is inherently personal. You need a name to create the salutation and an address to then send the pack. Information specifically targeted at your audience and delivered in such a way they will need to open the envelope to find out more.
But it’s not just the letter you can personalise. More sophisticated print technology means you can add personalisation to any element within the pack. You could incorporate name and address into an invitation, a brochure or leaflet. Maybe add a tear-off slip already completed which will just need to be sent back.
And if you’re not in the market for the product or service at that time, even better. Make your pack so relevant, so personal and easy to understand they will want to keep it. You have sent them something useful which is not relevant at the moment but they can go back to it when they have a need.
Make a lasting impression
Mugs, pens and notepads. These are probably the most common items you can personalise. But most printers now have huge catalogues containing lots of different products that can be branded. Still a popular tactic for marketers which is why there is so much more choice today.
If you make it useful and appealing nobody is going to turn down a ‘freebie’. What it means for you is your brand is being seen and used by your target customers on a daily basis. A constant reminder which can make your next communication with them a lot easier.
How about creating personalised, bespoke items that may have more of an impact. We all love chocolate but you don’t want to give it away without brand recognition. Little boxes with your own personalised message can be designed and printed. All you need to do is decide on a popular chocolate and load up the boxes.
Wrappers on chocolate bars even labels for jars can also be produced. There are some printers who have specialist machines that can deliver small and intricate print jobs. This gives you so many more options and makes it a designer’s dream.
Primary research with our target audience
At the beginning of the year we exhibited at the Peterborough Biscuit 2020. Our stand was a merchandising paradise. We had chocolate boxes, branded mini marmite jars and the opportunity to win a personalised notebook.
Our very own ‘spin to win’ wheel was a great crowd pleaser. But visitors were most excited about winning a personalised note book. Not a memory stick or portable phone charger. But an old-fashioned, well we wouldn’t say that really, writing book that definitely had their name on it.
We also spoke to many visitors about the wider opportunities for personalisation. Most already had digital strategies in place but were looking to do something a bit different. They wanted to know about how you can stand out from the crowd and be seen.
It’s always good to remember there is no single activity that will deliver your business ambitions. A marketing plan should have lots of different elements. Understanding the objectives and integrating your activity over a period of time is still quite important.
For us though, it was quite refreshing to know that the more traditional marketing techniques, such as branded merchandise, had probably come full circle. This hadn’t ever really disappeared. For many just bubbling under and waiting to reappear on the marketing agenda.
Of course, there are many companies who have never moved away from personalisation. Their customers will be waiting for the next gift to arrive. Calendars are great for this. A mainstay for any office, surprising in some ways, but we all like to look up a date or plan ahead.
What’s your experience of personalisation, have you received a really good gift? Leave a comment and tell us about it.