7 Reasons Why FinTech Companies Need Programmatic Direct Mail

In a competitive market like financial technology, where growing startups brush up against traditional finance companies, marketers need a way to differentiate and convert customers. One way to turn prospects into customers is through programmatic direct mail.

By observing the actions of prospects on your website or mobile app, you can trigger personalized direct mail that is sent out within 48 hours of the interaction.

Direct Mail Has a Huge Impact

Reaching people in their mailboxes can impact growth.

In fact, one financial services company found that 90% of borrowers were acquired through offline channels — the largest of which was direct mail.1

Compared to emails and display ads, direct mail:
Generates 10% more customers2
10%
Has a 90% or higher open rate (compared to email’s 30%)3
90%
Drives 60% of consumers back to the website4
60%
Has a house-list response rate of 5.1%
(compared 0.06% click-through rate on digital ads)5
5.1%

Mail is also secure. There are more than 200 federal laws enforced by the Postal Inspection Service to protect Americans from fraud.6 This assurance, as well as the less intrusive and more tactile experience of direct mail, leads 76% of consumers to trust direct mail when it comes to purchasing decisions.7

Programmatic Direct Mail Converts Prospects

When you use data gathered from digital channels to inform direct mail pieces, you get the best of both worlds. You can understand what a visitor to your website or mobile app is interested in based on what they looked at, then send a personalized piece of direct mail to help convert them from prospect to customer.

7 Reasons to invest in programmatic Direct mail

1

Combining the scale of digital and the efficacy of direct mail yields close to a 40% conversion rate.8

40%

In a space as competitive as FinTech, where customer acquisition costs are high, conversion rates matter. When a company sends a personalized email, conversion rates hover between 1% and 5%.9 A physical direct mailpiece is 8 to 40 times more effective, converting close to 40% of prospects into customers.8,9

2

Used together, digital and direct mail can result in 20% or higher response rates.10

20%

That’s ten times higher than the response rate for all digital channels combined and more than 200 times higher than the click-through rate for digital retargeting.10 To get prospects to invest, borrow or bank with your business, consider using programmatic mail to translate digital behavior into an opportunity to engage and ultimately convert prospects.

3

Multi-channel campaigns saw a 37% increase in response over single-channel campaigns.11

37%

On its own, direct mail outperforms other marketing channels. But combining direct mail with other digital media, such as email, gives you a greater chance of reaching your customer with the right message at the right time. A site visitor may not be ready to sign up today; if you send regular reminders to their inbox and mailbox, response rates could see growth.

4

One study showed that using direct mail and digital media together increased customer purchase or signup intent by 10x.12

10x

FinTech businesses need a sustainable customer base to survive. When digital media and direct mail are used in conjunction, one large study of a telecommunications advertiser showed a brand-to-customer connection that is 10-times stronger than digital-only campaigns.12 This translates to greater rates of consideration or intent to sign up and could mean a strong opportunity to capture and convert consumers in search of investing, borrowing or banking services.

5

Research has shown that campaigns that use direct mail and digital together produced 10% higher brand recollection than single-channel digital campaigns.13

10%

Brand recognition is vital for FinTech companies solidifying their place in the market. Using well-branded content across digital and direct mail channels has been shown to increase a customer’s recollection of a business: Brand memorability in one study was 5.5 times higher after an omni-channel campaign than that of a digital-only campaign.12 When a person recognizes a brand in a competitive market, they are more likely to give that company their business.

6

Recipients of omni-channel campaigns paid 39% more attention to the messaging than to that of single-channel campaigns.12

39%

Messaging helps differentiate your FinTech business from competitors. When you use a mix of digital media and direct mail to communicate a consistent message, people will pay more attention than they would if you were using just one channel or the other.

7

Research has shown that integrating digital and direct mail in campaigns resulted in 5% higher emotional intensity than single-channel digital campaigns.13

5%

Ninety-five percent of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, based on emotional connections and brand recall.14 It’s possible that positive emotions could correlate to an increase in a prospect’s likelihood of investing, borrowing or banking with you instead of your competitors.

Key Takeaway

Combine your rich digital data with effective direct mail communications to create a comprehensive marketing campaign that works. You can convert prospects visiting your site into customers at a higher rate and build a strong, loyal customer base that will help your FinTech business stay ahead of the competition.

USPS Can Help

Looking to learn more about programmatic mail? USPS representatives can help you find the best solution for your business needs.

Connect with Us

Make Your Direct Mail Smarter This Holiday Season

The months leading up to the holidays can be a particularly demanding time for senior-level marketers.

For some retailers, the holidays can account for as much as 30% of annual sales.1

And with customer expectations at an all-time high, marketers are increasingly accountable for their spending and under pressure to show clear-cut business results.2

Fortunately, by implementing various technologies, marketers can better reach customers, and track campaign success to understand what is and isn’t working. Read on to learn how you can use technology to make your direct mail campaigns intelligent for the holiday season.

How to make your holiday mail more sophisticated.

By marrying print and digital, you can ensure that your direct mail campaigns yield powerful insights.3 Consider implementing the following technologies in your next direct mail campaign:

Add a QR code to your mailpiece.

Quick Response (QR) codes, which look like barcodes, can be scanned with a smartphone, prompting a related app or website to open. Think of QR codes as a way to provide your customers and prospects with additional value. In one example, a grocery store retailer used direct mail to send food-themed magnets with QR codes, which, when scanned, allowed customers to instantly buy grocery store items from the comfort of their home.4

Include an NFC chip in your direct mail design.

Embedding Near Field Communication (NFC) microchips in your mailpiece will allow you to instantaneously transmit information through short-range radio waves to NFC-enabled smartphone devices. Unlike QR codes, NFC does not require users to download an app or open a separate web browser, enabling a seamless experience. In one example, a musician engaged her fans by embedding an NFC tag on a mail piece that gave them access to extended album content, including song lyrics, photos and videos.5

Consider incorporating Augmented Reality (AR) in your design.

With AR, you can transform a piece of mail into an interactive experience by layering digital graphics over a physical mail piece. In one example, a surf camp sent a mailpiece featuring an image of waves as the AR trigger that prompted recipients to download the AR app. This in turn, activated the AR experience, which concluded with a promotional offer.6

With each of these technologies — QR, NFC and AR — you’ll be able to gather a rich pool of data and learn about your most-interested customers, allowing you to refine and better target your future direct mail campaigns.7

Add a PURL to your direct mail design.

A PURL is a personalized URL that features the recipient’s name in the link and leads them to a personalized landing page. By including a PURL in your direct mail copy, the recipient can access and complete a response form prepopulated with information from the direct mail. This is a surefire way to capture leads.8

Go one-step further by adding a remarketing code to your PURL.

After a recipient views your mailpiece and visits the personalized landing page, you can then tag them with a cookie so that they can receive an ad later while browsing the internet, redirecting them back to your website to help drive conversions.9

Send your direct mail to a targeted group.

Similar to the above approach, you can serve online ads to the targeted niche group that received your mailpiece to leave a lasting impression.10

In Summary

Direct mail is more intelligent than ever before. Each of the technologies described above can provide you with a rich pool of data, allowing you to better target your customers with more relevant messaging, ultimately resulting in a stronger return on investment.11 Consider how implementing smarter direct mail campaigns can help you reach your marketing and sales goals.

3 Companies Talk Holiday Shopping, Abandoned Shopping Carts and Programmatic Mail

Abandoned shopping cart rates are a burden for many businesses, especially so during the holidays. In fact, 3 out of 4 shoppers never complete the intended purchase on a site.1 And with the holidays driving a frenzy of online shopping, those rates can be even more problematic.

To combat this problem, companies have turned to a new marketing tool: programmatic mail or, in simpler terms, automated mail triggered by programmatic technology. Programmatic technology monitors users’ digital behaviors to trigger personalized mail that’s sent within 24-48 hours while brands are still top of mind. We spoke to three vendors about the role programmatic mail has played in their clients’ marketing. Read on to hear from executives at Printing for Less, Amazingmail and Amplified Mail.

What is a common holiday concern for the brands you work with?

“We recognize there is always a percentage of people that prefer to shop around and add products to the shopping cart for future orders. We find holiday time intensifies abandoned shopping cart rates because people are purposely window-shopping and holding before making an educated purchase.”
—Devin Smalley, Director of Program Management, Amplified Mail

“Abandoned shopping carts are certainly a concern and big focus for our B2C customers year-round. B2B customers don’t necessarily have abandoned carts but are often concerned with abandoned sales cycles or deals that have suddenly gone cold.”
—Frances McCutchon, Director of Marketing, Printing for Less

“Shopping cart abandonment is a significant issue for our brands. Many employ a cross-channel strategy to address it.”
—Dave Olesen, Executive Vice President, Amazingmail

How do you leverage programmatic mail to target abandoned shopping cart rates and lower them?

“Overall, we work on constant improvements to lower abandoned shopping carts. It can be difficult to accomplish. Our focus continues to be re-engaging potential customers with programmatic direct mail or email to bring them back quickly for a completed shopping cart order. On average, we wait two days before sending an email if the mailpiece is First-Class. Waiting time is longer for standard, marketing-class mailpieces.”
—Devin Smalley, Director of Program Management, Amplified Mail

“Both B2C and B2B businesses combat abandoned shopping carts and sales cycles by triggering direct mail through our company’s customer relationship management system (CRM) and marketing automation platform (MAP) integrations. When the CRM or MAP signals that an item has been left in a cart, programmatic direct mail, or tactile marketing automation as we like to call it, triggers a data-driven direct mailpiece to be sent.

Programmatic direct mail leverages variable fields which populate text and images unique to the receiver. In the abandoned shopping cart case, you could automatically populate the direct mailpiece with an image of the item left in the cart and the person’s name in the copy.”
—Frances McCutchon, Director of Marketing, Printing for Less

Why is programmatic mail an effective medium in this regard for combatting high abandoned shopping cart rates?

“People are growing more and more conditioned to ignore digital messages—and are especially overwhelmed by the quantity of messages during the holidays—so a personalized print piece stands out and gets noticed. Print is inherently more engaging and memorable too, so customers are more likely to follow up and complete a transaction.”
—Frances McCutchon, Director of Marketing, Printing for Less

“We believe programmatic mail is not effective on its own. There are analytics that show segments of our population are impacted by direct mail. We have seen for years that adults 50 and older tend to have higher direct mail response rates than younger age groups. However, recent numbers show us that 25- to 35-year-olds are responding well, specifically when it comes to programmatic mail. Our goal is using direct mail as our primary medium, but it’ essential to integrate additional mediums based on what we know about the consumer.
—Devin Smalley, Director of Program Management, Amplified Mail

“It has been demonstrated by USPS-sponsored neuroscience research that digital and physical advertising are complementary.2 In the case of cart abandonment, buyers hesitate for one reason or another. There is pause and reservation. The use of a physical advertisement has been shown to have “a longer-lasting impact than digital” and may serve to increase confidence in a brand. Moreover, there appears to be a ‘greater subconscious value and desire for products advertised in a physical format.’2
—Dave Olesen, Executive Vice President, Amazingmail

Do you have real-world examples of companies who have succeeded at lowering abandoned shopping carts with programmatic mail?

“We have one customer who focuses on selling blinds and curtains. They use [a marketing automation software] to listen for cancelled consultation appointments and also for people who have not purchased 20 days post-consultation. Those data points trigger personalized postcards that include a limited-time discount offer.

The customer just started with this program, so no hard numbers yet, but it is a great example of how tactile marketing automation helps you to send relevant offers to those who it will impact most. Customers not only automate their direct mail programs and cut out messy spreadsheets, but they can optimize their direct mail spend by letting the data dictate who deserves a printed piece.”
—Frances McCutchon, Director of Marketing, Printing for Less

“Yes, we have seen success using programmatic mail for [an automobile client’s] web portal software business. One of our web portals for the company produces millions of mailpieces on a monthly basis. We measure users and web actions on our portal and make decisions to contact them based on mail templates they look at and other data fed to and from the website.

In another area of the business, we leverage car technology to trigger direct mail. Consumers around the country drive [these] vehicles with connected systems that track vehicle performance. When an alert lamp comes on in a vehicle, our website is notified within minutes. In some cases, this data triggers direct mail to be sent to the consumer with a call to action and offer personalized to the consumer’s dealer and service needs.”
—Devin Smalley, Director of Program Management, Amplified Mail

In Summary

The holidays are a crucial time to convert customers and lower abandoned shopping cart rates. Thanks to the quick turnaround of programmatic mail, companies have been able to move the needle on this important statistic. By sending timely direct mail based on a customer’s digital behavior, you too can help your holiday business with this marketing tool.

How Informed Delivery® Can Triple the Impact of your Marketing Message

In a world inundated by ads, it can be challenging as a business to reach your audience effectively. Help your marketing messages make a greater impact. With Informed Delivery® from the United States Postal Service, you can connect one direct mail campaign with potential customers three times: through email, digital ride-along content and the mail piece itself. Watch our video to see how your direct mail can reach customers in the physical and digital worlds, and help deliver improved sales and ROI.

4 Technologies That Can Revive Your Catalog Marketing

Print has proven time and again to play an integral role in marketing. While digital ads are ever present, a U.S Postal Service® survey showed that 92% of households report having a strong attachment to mail and even look forward to receiving mail each day.1 Catalogs especially are known to have positive associations, improve brand recall, and drive customers to a brand’s website. The challenge is standing out from competitors.

Engagement and brand storytelling are essential in creating memorable catalogs, and technology can add new dimension to an already popular and successful marketing tool. Read on to learn about four ways to elevate your next catalog campaign.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) technology seamlessly combines the digital and physical worlds to provide your customers with an interactive experience that’s exciting and unexpected. Utilizing this technology has been proven by one study to increase the likelihood of a purchase up to 88%.2

AR layers digital graphics over your customer’s surroundings. Incorporate a visual trigger into your catalog for your customers to activate with a smartphone camera. Then they’ll see your product come to life in any way you imagine.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is another game changer. Now your catalogs can deliver a message that comes to life before your customer’s eyes, right from their living room. Proven to revolutionize the shopping experience, the VR industry is expected to become a $10-15 billion market by 2022.3

Utilizing this technology and including a mailable headset in your catalog gives your customers everything they need to see your products in a whole new light.

Video-Enhanced Print

Video content is versatile and delivers your message instantly. You can incorporate this technology in your catalogs in several ways: embed a paper-thin screen into a mailpiece, direct customers to dynamic digital content or have your visuals come alive right on the page with video-enhanced print.

One simple way to incorporate this technology is through a QR code®.4 Launch digital content from your catalog with a QR code® that leads customers to time-sensitive promotions or your online shop. Catalogs with video-enhanced print can help mesmerize your audience and increase your product awareness.

Near Field Communication

Near Field Communication (NFC) is the new frontier of wireless technology. There are many exciting ways to use this technology that bridge a physical catalog with the digital world.

NFC tags–usually an embedded microchip in a sticker or a product label–can launch tailored digital content on an NFC-capable mobile device with short-range radio wave. With a tap or a wave of the smartphone, your customers can seamlessly connect to your brand online.

In Conclusion

Reinvent your catalog marketing with technology. Tell your brand story and immerse your customers in what your business has to offer with these innovative digital additions. Incorporate technology for richer customer experiences and potentially larger returns for your company.

Q&A: PebblePost® Executive Adam Solomon Talks Customer Acquisition

Mail has the power to drive business and convert customers in different stages of the marketing life cycle. It’s an especially effective medium when it comes to acquisition. Countless companies are leveraging mail and working with USPS in new and exciting ways to do just that. Since finding new customers is a major goal for any business in any industry, we decided to sit down with Adam Solomon, Chief Product Officer at PebblePost, to get a better understanding of acquisition marketing and the role mail plays in that equation.

PebblePost is the inventor of Programmatic Direct Mail™, which transforms real-time online activity into dynamically rendered, personalized direct mail that’s sent out every 12-24 hours. The company leverages data, proprietary advertising technology and mail to win new business and drive their digital marketing partners’ ROI. Though their solution is a digital platform, mail plays a crucial part in their campaigns’ success. Read on as Solomon talks in-depth about how technology, messaging, and personalization help convert new customers.

From your perspective, what are the benefits for using mail for programmatic advertising and customer acquisition?

At PebblePost, we solved a very interesting problem for both brands on the one hand and for consumers on the other. From the brand side, there’s been a lot of innovation when it comes to using data and programmatic technology to understand what consumers are doing in real time on their websites.

The challenge in digital has been the delivery vehicle, whether it’s desktop sites, mobile sites or mobile apps. It’s become a very busy Times Square experience, where ads are just jumping up in your face and really aggravating consumers. This has been proven out by the rise in consumers using ad blockers and all the news we see about consumers getting frustrated with advertising.

Not only is the digital ad experience lacking, there’s also a challenge over whether consumers are in the right frame of mind and in the right modality to receive those messages. Are they ready to transact and take action at the moment that the digital ad or technology is delivered?

Tangible media sent to home is a very polite, respectful and effective vehicle. Consumers check their mail maybe once a day. There’s some ceremony they go through to collect the mail and sort the mail. And if it’s a relevant and compelling offer, they’ll act on it on their own time. So the combination of using a strong real-time signal, which is a digital action that shows consumer intent, and other capabilities of digital and programmatic, in addition to the effectiveness of sending tangible media to home—literally delivering digital with feeling—that’s something that we brought together. We’ve found it in practice, in the last year, to be highly effective.

How does PebblePost leverage its technology to acquire customers?

In Q4 2016, we launched what we called our Website Prospect Remarketing solution. These are prospects already visiting the marketer’s site, but the marketer doesn’t know who they are. They’re not logged in; they’re not existing customers, but they’ve already raised their hand in some manner. There’s some call to action somewhere that has brought them to the site. So they’re already moving in the right direction as far as the brand is concerned, but the brand still needs to seal the deal.

We pick up on that signal. We recognize the fact that someone is not a customer, but a prospect or “new to file”. We have the same ability to use a strong real-time digital signal to qualify a user for a campaign. Then we leverage the power of the proprietary technology on our side that allows us to create connections between an individual visiting a website via a cookie and where to send the mail and find their postal address.

We’ve seen a lot of success with that solution, because this is a prospect that’s already moving down the funnel and we use this very effective tangible media vehicle to push them over the finish line and convert them into a customer.

You mentioned 3 things that I think are important to touch on: messaging, personalization and behavior. Let’s start with behavior. What kind of online behavior are you looking for when you’re seeking out new customers for acquisition?

We have a set way that we think about a user journey on a marketer’s website. If you think about book ends, on one continuum, someone visits the homepage. On the other end of the continuum, someone puts something in their shopping cart. That’s one step towards conversion.

Since we’re mostly focused right now on retail and ecommerce, the in-between pieces are when a user searches for something, maybe goes on a category page. Then they go a little deeper, they’re on a product detail page, then they put something into their carts and they convert. We have a set methodology that we go through, in terms of using a human effort and also machine learning and technology. The deeper someone goes, the more qualified they are.

However, even if someone is going deep and looking in a shoes category and looking at a particular pair of shoes, it doesn’t mean that they want to get a postcard or catalog in the mail just with that pair of shoes. They may just be in the shoe category in general or that might be completely wrong. You may want to promote a cross-sell. If they’re looking at shoes, you may want to promote belts, for example.

When it comes to customer acquisition, would you say that your messaging typically includes offers or is that just one tactic you take?

It really depends on the brands we’re working with and what their goals are. If a brand’s goal is customer acquisition, then we highly recommend as best practice that they have a very strong call to action and a very attractive offer. If it’s a Programmatic Postcard™, the offer should be displayed on the front and back. It should be perceived by the consumer as something being highly valuable, whether it’s the offer itself, or it’s the inclusion of a promotion code or a custom promotion code just for them. “Summer30” is clearly to a consumer a promotion everyone gets, but if it’s a specific number, they know, “Hey, it’s just for me.”

Another interesting thing about creative and the messaging of the offer is we can drive individuals from online to home back to online. We can also drive individuals from online to home to store. This is something you cannot do with a banner ad. People are not printing banner ads, putting them on their fridge and walking them to a store. That’s just not consumer behavior.

When it comes to mail, or what you’re referring to as tangible media, consumer behavior is completely different.

Right. If you get a card in the mail that’s a special offer that you can walk into a physical location that you can hand to a cashier and you get your $15 off or a certain percentage off, that is being perceived as very valuable to the consumer. It also affects behavior in a way that traditional digital cannot. We think PebblePost has a unique opportunity here, because over 90% of strong digital signals picked up today comes from online as people are surfing around websites, searching and taking action. All this signal is being generated.

About 90% plus of all purchase decisions are made in the home. And, though ecommerce is growing, about 90% of all commerce occurs in the real world, in physical store locations. So PebblePost connects through Programmatic Direct Mail™, the strong signal which comes from online, the purchase decisions which are made in home, and then we have the opportunity to drive back to digital, but most interestingly drive individuals to physical stores and complete that loop which is very compelling to marketers.

Final Thoughts

As PebblePost has shown, mail can be a powerful tool for customer acquisition. Though the company is a digital solution with data-driven decisioning and programmatic principles, it uses mail to get segmented, personalized messaging into customers’ homes. Leverage these principles to acquire more customers than ever before.1

Merging Social Media and Direct Mail

Social media and direct marketing exist in two different worlds, but together they stand to create an even more powerful marketing strategy. While data from social media is crucial for optimizing future social media campaigns, it can also be harnessed to enhance direct mail efforts by fine-tuning the messaging and target audience. Direct mail can similarly be used to enhance a social media campaign, by capturing consumer attention and directing an audience to a company’s online platforms. Working hand in hand, these two channels can boost the effectiveness of a campaign and create valuable insights.

Connecting Social Media and Direct Mail

Though these advertising channels operate across disparate mediums, one print and one digital, they can complement each other in a number of ways. With so much digital clutter, it’s hard for a company to differentiate itself on various social media channels. Direct mail marketing can truly boost social media efforts. By using direct mail in conjunction with social media, marketers can create a more original and memorable experience.1 For example, companies can cross-promote their content on social media and direct mail to build anticipation around wider marketing efforts. They can also countdown to product launches on social media, then send mailers and brochures once the product hits stores. To prompt users to follow a business’ social media accounts, physical mailers can feature social icons or QR codes that instantly link the consumer to a website or social media page.

Using Social Analytics to Enhance Direct Mail

While social media can amplify a company’s messaging and introduce it to a new audience, it can also gather customer data useful for building a successful marketing strategy. By studying social media analytics, companies can better understand their audiences and, in turn, use that information to create a more refined direct mail campaign. How? Looking at demographics, topics of interest, and click-through data, marketers can create more comprehensive audience segments. This allows them to better target their customer base using direct mail.2 Knowing what content and imagery performs best on social media can help inform marketers’ messaging and imagery choices on physical mailers.3 Leveraging this information can also help companies send the right message to the right consumer at the right time.

The Strategic Possibilities

Developing unified social media and direct mail campaigns can serve businesses in many different ways. Here are three dynamic examples.

Geo-targeting

Companies looking to market to a specific location can use social media to deliver hyper-local advertisements. Measuring which ads work in certain locations can then help these companies decide what areas to focus their direct mail marketing efforts. Facebook and Twitter, for example, allow companies to target customers by demographics, interests and location.

  • Use social media to send branded content or promotions to followers in Zip Code locations you’d like to target. Some social media platforms provide you with analytics that show you which areas responded most favorably to your content. This data can then be used to determine which areas would be the most receptive to your direct mail campaign.

Events

Social media offers an easy way to communicate important information about any marketing event and the company behind it. Simultaneously, direct mail, which neuromarketing has shown to be a more memorable medium than digital, can be used to build excitement around the event and deliver important information.4 Social sharing platforms can connect a brand’s followers to richer content in the form of brochures and mailers. These social channels can then drive consumers to lead-generation microsites where they can request direct mail about the event, as well as the company’s products and offerings.

  • Create custom hashtags to drive consumer excitement around the event and your newest line of products or services. As the event date approaches, create a lead-gen site that offers consumers product brochures and other branded materials. Promote the site with the chosen hashtags.

Personalization

Social analytics can provide brands with the ages, locations, and interests of their followers. With this information, companies can send direct mail tailored to each customer. Mailers can speak to the appropriate audience segment and offer promotions specific to the product preferences of each location.5

  • Send mailers that include personalized content that reflects the individual consumer’s profile. Direct mail messaging can also be tailored to the consumer’s stated interests on social media sites.

While it is important for a business to build a robust social media following, using social media in partnership with more traditional channels can enhance the potency of these efforts. Direct mail, which can elicit a pronounced emotional response, brings added value to a campaign by making a message more memorable. Together, direct mail and social media can heighten the influence and reach of a company’s marketing strategy.

Why Personalization May Help You Win with Millennials

Personalization is the act of leveraging data and personal information to deliver individualized messages to prospects and current customers. As a marketing tool, it’s obviously not new; it’s been a driving force in promotion for years. However, millennials are changing the way we think about personalized marketing.

Personalization can be an effective method for drawing in and retaining millennials. This generation grew up in the digital age, curating its own content on social media platforms. They love DIY curation websites, where they can scour the web for ideas and contact a merchant to help them bring custom creations to life.

For millennials, personalized marketing can help drive loyalty and purchasing decisions. In fact, a survey by Access Development1 found only 12 percent of millennial respondents had an active dislike for marketing communications, which is unlike previous generations of buyers. An NPD Group survey2 showed that while older millennials use more loyalty apps and shop at big-box national retailers, younger millennials prefer specialty stores and buying wholesale.

Millennials are also more open to giving out personal information—especially if they get something in return. According to research from Aimia3, half of millennials would share personal details to join a rewards program, while 36 percent of millennials would do so to gain access to a website.

whypersonalizationmayhelpyouwinwithmillennials_inarticleimage_11-7

The information age makes personalization even more personal. It seems a fair trade-off; if someone offers a business their personal info, the business should use it with care and specificity. Here’s what marketers should keep in mind to meet millennials where they are—and where they’d like to be:

Market with Personalization in Mind

Personalizing goods and services for the millennial crowd takes more than just attaching a name to an email or a direct mail flier. If we examine the rise of customizable menus in fast-casual restaurants, which allow its patrons to craft their own custom food creations, we see that many customers enjoy having more personalized options. A survey from Bond4 found that 55 percent of U.S. millennials would like access to personalized experiences and services that huge companies don’t have the bandwidth to provide.

Small and medium-sized businesses can take these lessons and apply the strategies to their own marketing campaigns. To entice the millennial consumer, customization may be the key. Companies can present options, though not too many, to appeal to the principles this value-driven generation loves. This is a shared trait between younger and older millennials; a Cone Communications poll5 showed that 92 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds and 91 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds would be willing to switch to brands associated with good causes.

The rise in popularity of curated subscription box services – from makeup to collectibles to pet supplies – is a perfect example of successful personalization in marketing. A beauty company has subscribers fill out a profile that asks basic questions about skin tone, type, and personal style. Based on the answers, it mails out five samples on a monthly basis. Subscribers try them out and have the option to buy full sizes of items they love.

Enhance Your Strategy

Small and medium-sized businesses should consider weaving personalization into their marketing, from the services they offer to their direct mail campaigns. Remember, what worked in the past may still be effective, but you may have to rethink your strategy and focus on tailored, individualized content for a crowd that expects customization and big value.

Consider what happened not too long along when a late night comedy host was taking potshots at politicians who sent mass emails with the respondent’s name in the tag. It pretended to be personal, but once you read a line or two, it was obviously just another form letter. Don’t fall into the trap of pretending to be personal—it’s important to actually engage with your consumer on a personal level.

Are you ready to personalize your direct mail for millennials? Check out “Reaching Millennials: The Role of DM.” It’s an informative guide that may help businesses bridge the communication gap—and generation gap—with millennial consumers.