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Setting Realistic Expectations for Personalization

According to one research firm, personalized printing (also called variable data printing) increases response rates by an average of 36%, average order size or value by 25%, and customer loyalty by 38%. What does this mean for you? Are these numbers that you, as a marketer, should expect to be hitting?

Not necessarily. Even the most compelling case studies show a wide range of metrics, with successful 1:1 printing programs showing response rates, for example, from the single digits to nearly 100%. What matters isn’t one individual metric or another. It’s the overall return on investment (ROI). You can have a 4.2% response rate, and if the value of your product is high, you can have 1,000% ROI.

Let’s look at some variables associated with response rates and how they can impact results.

Who are you sending to? If you mail to the general population, you will receive a lower response rate, even with personalized mail, than if you send to a carefully selected recipient base—say, your best customers or a carefully selected demographic sub-set of a purchased mailing list.

What is the goal you are trying to achieve? Are you trying to convince someone who has never heard of your product to make a purchase? Or are you selling consumables to customers who already own your products?

Is the incentive inflating the response rate? One marketing services firm regularly generates 21% to 75% response rates based on offering high-value rewards like remote control cars or sets of personalized golf clubs. No wonder response rates
are so high!

How much does the product cost? You will get more responses to offers for products under $50 than for high-value products and services like automobiles and financial services.

Regional versus National. Sometimes regional marketers have a better chance at grabbing recipients’ attention just because they have a local connection. Known brands versus unknown brands make a difference, as well.

So don’t focus compare yourself to others. Many variables can affect response rates. Your metrics will be unique to you, and in the end, your ROI is the only number that counts!