August 16, 2017

Personalising Direct Mail to Increase ROI

Written by Charlie Browning, Print & Data Manager at Romax Marketing & Distribution.


When clients come to Romax they always ask “How can I get a better ROI on the marketing I am already doing?”, Our response is – Personalisation, relevancy and segmentation.  This doesn’t mean just adding a name and an address with one message – everyone’s doing that. What it does mean, is adding intelligent segmentation that drives dynamic and targeting marketing messages which makes your communication much more personal and relevant to each recipient. Smart personalisation like this will always gain a much better ROI than just one blanket message to all your customers.

Personalised postal card (Text and image).

I will go through a fictional campaign with examples on how to use segmentation to personalise a mailing which I think will help you achieve a greater response.

Why personalise my direct mail?

Reasons to do so:

  • What gives better response rates
  • The Campaign Background

A small fictional company (let’s call them Travel Co.) are fairly established in their market place, a few high street stores, have 2 market offerings – higher and lower value holidays. Travel Co. are trying to market a new sale on Summer Holidays to existing and prospective clients.

There are around 30 different holiday deals detailed in a small sales brochure that they have already produced for distribution in their stores. As an additional medium, they have decided to use them in this direct mail campaign. The deals have a range of target audiences each having their own clear target markets.

Data – The first and most crucial step when personalising direct mail

When thinking about personalisation I always start with 3 questions;

1. What data do I have on my customers? 

2. What information can I obtain?

3. How can I use this information to better target relevant messages to my customers?

From the answers from one and two, we can then create different groups of customers to which we can direct more relevant and effective communications.

In this instance Travel Co. only has names and address. Taking advantage of our Free Audit Service we can enhance the data using advanced profiling techniques. In this illustration, I would use personal income and life stage. All of which amazingly from just a name and address could provide. Thus answering question one and two.

To answer three, we can then create groups in the data, tailoring the communication to each. Travel Co. is then targeting their customers in a much better way than a generic communication to all. Targeting gives a much higher response rate!

Creating two broad groups using personal income, those likely to want higher or lower value holidays. To break both down further we can use the life stage results to put all the customers into the target markets of the various holiday deals.

For example (and I apologise now for any offence, I’m not a travel expert and just using awful stereotypes):

  • The young singles on lower incomes matched to booze cruises.
  • Young higher incomes to short city breaks.
  • Older retirees to longer less “action-packed” tours.
  • Families matched to a range of family-friendly villas.

Remember for direct marketing data is king, there can’t be any personalisation without it!


But what about the personalisation you’re talking about?

With the target markets and deals matched with data let’s get to the design!

We can create cleverly personalised artwork to go with the static brochure enclosed in a clear polythene outer (to show off the brochure deals and catchy artwork). 3 separate holiday offers could be given to each customer depending on which target market they fit into. To make these offers stand out, add a picture of the destination and the highlighted best price.

Make sure the rest of the artwork stays relevant to current customers or prospects by changing the marketing message. A way to make the brand personal is to add a picture of the customers local office manager with name and contact details, for an older audience, this could be a nice personal differentiator from online brands.

How else could I personalise a mailing?

A fantastic example of adding true 1:1 personalisation to a campaign is one that we re-produced over a few campaigns for Emma Bridgewater. Did I mention this improved their Direct Marketing by 25%. Now as they were launching hand painted mugs with a bespoke name, we suggested personalising the mug on the front cover of the catalogue to each recipient. Other campaigns included just a postcard with the mug personalised.

Personalised catalogue cover with client’s name.

Another example is to give different marketing collateral to each of your recipients. This means for each segment of data inserting a targeted brochure, keeping costs down as well as increasing overall. If recipients are receiving targeted collateral they will be far more likely to respond. Read more about how we did this as well as many other enhancements for MetFriendly here:

A few final tips on what not to do:

Now your minds are running wild with ideas here are a few tips and words of warning.

Try not to show how much data you have on the individual unless it is relevant to the campaign. Many consumers are wary of companies that hold too much information and makes them think of “big brother” in George Orwell’s 1984.

Relevancy is king in the case of personalisation, there is no point adding it if it doesn’t add any value to the campaign. E.g. personalise a number plate if your selling peanut butter. Being subtle really helps if it definitely adds to the campaign.


So, looking back at our example we have successfully segmented and profiled our data from only a name and address, this allows us to create much more relevant and directly targeted marketing messages. Using personalisation in intelligent ways we can hugely increase response rates, which will likely either lead to sales or enquiries. Remember you are usually limited to what data you hold and how you understand your clients, so this is the first step to creating ideas.




romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. 

Contact us: +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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