September 2012 - Mixing It Up!

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Even Google and Facebook include personalized print as part of their marketing recipes.

Did you notice one in your mailbox? If so, you might have done a double take. It was a personalized direct mail piece from Google or Facebook.

Many people may be surprised that today’s largest online brands are using print, but they shouldn’t be. Google has been using personalized direct mail for years. Most visible are its print campaigns on behalf of its pay-per-click advertising program, AdWords. It sends personalized kits and coupons for $100 in free ads as incentives to get businesses started using the program.

Google also uses full-color direct mail to maintain its customers’ engagement once they start using the program. Every quarter, it sends a full-color, 100% personalized report, folded into booklets. Each booklet includes the advertiser’s Web address, AdWords ad(s), the number of click-throughs, and other metrics.

Could Google use its primary channel, the Web, to communicate this information? Of course! And it does. But its ongoing print campaigns reflect the level at which it values the high-quality, full-color channel of digital print for creating yet another point of connection with its customers. Its personalized mailings drive home the value of its products and services and create a stronger
relationship.

Now, Facebook is following Google’s lead. It uses a mix of static and personalized mail that includes personalized URLs and personalized QR codes.

In Facebook’s personalized URL mailings, recipients are invited to log into a personalized landing page. Once there, they complete an online survey that collects critical marketing intelligence from each prospect.

Upon completion, recipients receive a special offer.

In some mailings, Facebook includes personalized QR codes, as well. Facebook knows that not every person wants to respond to a marketing campaign the same way. For those who prefer to use a cellphone over the computer, QR codes provide yet another channel of response.

There are two very important messages that we can take from these high-profile brand marketers. Personalized print has a very high level of value—high enough that today’s most successful online companies are using it. Second, there is great value in using multiple channels (in this case, print, mobile, and the Web) to improve results.

Looking to understand the value of personalized print for your next marketing program? Take a cue from Facebook and Google.