February 2015 - Personalization is More than Just a Name

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Personalization is More than Just a Name
Personalization is a big topic in the marketing world right now. One example of personalization is sending mail that includes customers’ names. More recently, personalization has also taken hold in the packaging world as a way to reach customers on a deeper level. The most prominent example of personalization through the use of first names is Coca-Cola’s recent “Share a Coke” campaign, in which the company printed 250 of the most popular names on 20-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola products. The company encouraged customers to find their own name or share the Coke with someone else. It was an impressive, large-scale campaign that also asked customers to share images online using #shareacoke.

But names aren’t the only personalization approach companies can use. Personalization is employed anytime a company utilizes digital printing to reach a variety of different targets. Indeed, Coca-Cola didn’t just utilize names in its campaign, it also used popular phrases like “BFF,” “The Team,” “Family” and “Wingman,” which are targeted to specific groups, such as teenagers, office workers and families. While personalizing items with first names is often the first thing people think of when the term “personalization” comes up, there are many other approaches to take and opportunities for companies to create innovative, engaging promotions.

Targeting different markets by geographic area, interests and demographics are key ways to personalize product labels and packaging to specific groups. Leavy Vicars, packaging advisor at Nosco, has suggested targeting a geographic region by printing packaging with graphics related to local sports teams. He also suggested targeting users by specific interests, such as fishing, camping or boating. Targeting customers by age group can also be an effective use of personalization, and this could even have uses in the medical device market. For example, you could design EpiPen packages for different age groups by using popular cartoon characters from “SpongeBob SquarePants” or Disney. 

In addition, a handful of companies have launched campaigns that invite customers to design their own products. Kleenex allowed customers to create individual boxes that match their own homes. Heineken provided an option to customize six-packs of its beer in Europe, too.

Digital Printing Makes This Process Easy
Although forward-thinking companies in many markets have started using personalization more, there is substantial opportunity for growth. Digital printing makes implementation of variable data seamless, allowing for different applications in different markets. Serialization is a great benefit for healthcare markets, and personalization campaigns could be utilized successfully in personal care and natural health markets, among others

Still, the planning and strategizing process for implementing variable data can be significant. Unrolling a personalization campaign can be cumbersome because it requires research and strategy to create a unique and effective promotion that draws targeted customers. Companies should work with an innovation-focused printing and packaging partner to strategize and determine the best approach to their personalization campaigns.