To customise or not to customise, that is the question. With consumers more content savvy than ever before, marketing analysts agree: to customise and deliver meaningful consumer messages is the answer.
Long gone are the days when customisation was about printing “Dear customer’s first name” on the front cover. With innovations in the digital print and automated work flows, the opportunities to customise and target your marketing communications are endless, you’d be a fool not to tap in.
A study by Smithers Pira found that personalised marketing delivers 31 percent greater profits compared to general marketing materials. Additionally, customer loyalty can rise by over 40 percent through personalisation as well as lead to repeat orders.
With this in mind, the growing trend to customise everything from catalogues and direct mail to brandzines and newspapers makes smart marketing sense and we explore how some brands are doing it across New Zealand and international markets.
Going direct with Loyalty NZ
Because it’s still one of the most effective ways to talk to their 2.5 million customer base, direct mail remains a large part of Loyalty New Zealand’s Fly Buys customer loyalty program. And since they’ve started personalising their direct mail, the effectiveness has significantly increased. Using data analytics to help understand customer behaviours and purchasing patterns, Loyalty NZ focused on the behavioural knowledge data and converted it into a tailored offer. For example, the tailored offer might have a focus on nappies or baby formula if data indicated a purchase history of baby products. This offer was then incorporated in the Fly Buys ‘points summary update’ which is sent out via direct mail.
Further, this technology incorporated offers into a monthly cycle, leveraging data and speed to market to get a direct mail piece out responsively if they need to combat a market competitor – but more importantly they distributed content that was relevant and meaningful to their customers.
The results? Kim Rousell, marketing services manager at Loyalty New Zealand, notes the consistent spike in Fly Buys reward redemption after each direct mail campaign, arguing that utilising direct mail to place relevant offers into the hands of your customers delivers. 
Brandzines with BMW
Many brands also use segmented data to offer personalisation within their own brandzines or publications. In order to forge a closer bond with its customers, BMW customised the content to the specific consumer using data collected through their loyalty program also. Information on customers’ sporting passions, food and drink preferences or art and culture interests is leveraged to determine which news stories to insert or images to use for each customer magazine. This activity, along with other supporting marketing channels, helped BMW achieve an 8 percent response rate to its ‘nurture’ campaign and generated an ROI of 32:1 – a currently unmatched result.
Creating a connection with ink
New printing technology has opened up a whole new world for marketers to target mass audiences when pushing the medium. Through combining ink with other elements to ensure campaigns emotionally connect with consumers and deepen their meaning we’ve seen brands using ash, blood, alcohol, cat-nip and more for that ‘wow’ factor in their print publications.
New Zealand Fire Service combined the ash remains of a South Auckland home with ink within press advertisements in newspapers for a campaign encouraging better smoke alarm detectors. Kiwis were holding a piece of a local home devastated by fire all because of a faulty smoke alarm. With 80 percent of 3,200 homes affected by fire every year due to not having working smoke alarms, NZ Fire Service wanted to inspire action and for Kiwis to check their alarms and purchase a new one if needed. Using impactful photography, the newspaper ‘newsworthiness’ and the ash within the very pages the campaign delivered a powerful message right into the hands of the reader triggering a strong emotional response. This campaign saw a 2900 percent increase in smoke alarm sales and 78 percent of consumers made sure their smoke alarm was working.
The ‘All Blacks’ in their ‘It’s in our blood’ membership campaign, saw each player from the squad donating blood to be combined with ink to produced limited edition posters engaging the unwavering support from fans. With the poster showing the players performing the haka, the blood in the ink represented that ‘rugby’ and not only blood is running through their veins. The clever play on words cultivated a sense of community showing they are bonded by blood and deepened the campaign positioning.
As brands continue looking for ways to stand out and emotionally connect with consumers, we can expect to see more and more personalisation whether based on data or physical elements within the tangibility of print. When the most beautiful-sounding word to most people is their own name coupled with other images or offers they can relate to, brands now know that in order to capture their customers’ attention, they must have relevant content to facilitate cut through.
 Customer Stories, NZ Post.