Relevance Includes Timing! (The Digital Nirvana)

When we think about personalized printing and creating relevance-based campaigns, we think about demographic data, purchase history, personalized URLs . . . but how often do we really think about timing?
My husband came in the other day holding a beautiful, glossy postcard selling surface overlay installation. As the director of facilities for a large private school, this was something he would definitely be interested in.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” he asked, handing me the card.
I looked it over.
The time of year appeared to be correct:
Tis the seaons for slips and falls. Get free ice melter and help reduce slippery conditions.
That’s true. Ice melt does help with that.
The company had gotten his name spelled correctly. It had spelled the name of the school correctly. As as the direct of facilities, he was the right person to send it to.  But he was right. Something didn’t add up.
“It’s a little late in the year to use ice melt as an incentive?”
Bingo! Facilities directors normally order ice melt in bulk in the fall — September or October. By February, the incentive is competely irrelevant to someone in his position.
This drives home the point that when it comes to 1:1 printing and relevance-based marketing, we have to think beyond the data. What is really of value to the person receiving the mailing? And does the offer have relevance and value not only to the person, but at the time the person is receiving it?
I wonder what the response rate was to this mailing? If it wasn’t great, I wonder if the company has yet figured out why?

Heidi Tolliver-Walker is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications.

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