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How Personal Can You Get?

No matter how transparently automated the delivery, most of us still respond positively to personalized messaging. This is why many marketing appeals insert the recipient's name (and other surface demographic information like city or state) into cheap, obviously mass produced communications. We know the message isn't really personal but honor the formality with low-level attention anyway.

As you might expect, the more authentic the personalizaton feels, the more attention the audience is likely to give. Recipients sense the marketer's care instantly when the communication carries truly personal information or its graphic treatment is distinctive. "Wow! They must've spent a pretty penny to produce this piece. They've even embossed my middle name! This company must really value me." The extra effort and expense pay off for the marketer by inspiring deeper brand awareness and loyalty.

How 121 MSG Facilitates Personalized Communication

Of course, most marketers don't have unlimited budgets, so not every communication can include fancy designs or complicated variable data schemes, but at 121 MSG we pride ourselves on finding economical solutions for personalized programs. Sometimes the solution is physical – a machine is retrofitted to allow faster processing; sometimes organizational – a new, more efficient workflow is created; sometimes conceptual – a modification to the existing plan is suggested to expedite the work. Regardless of the tactic employed, our team stays engaged and responsive until the solution is achieved.

The Hilton Honors loyalty club mailing described below is a great example of how we adapted our services to fit their specialized need.

Hilton had created 23 language versions of a beautiful personalized mailer to deliver its loyalty club's membership cards. This sophisticated card carrying mailer was printed on sumptuous "soft touch" paper and had to be imprinted with a personalized salutation and have a membership card affixed. At first the special paper wouldn't run through our printers without jamming. We ran multiple tests and made modifications to the machine. Then, the variable imprint files were discovered to be out of alignment. Again, we ran multiple tests and ended up creating a batch modification to correct the problem on the fly. And finally, we tackled the most difficult problem of all: The 23 language versions of the mailer could each be modified to hold any of the club's 4 membership levels. We had to be prepared to mail any of 92 mailer variations within one week of receipt of new member data files. Mail segments could be as small as 1, as great as several thousand. To account for minute inventory fluctuations and card / mailer / envelope matching issues, a special workflow and process checklist had to be created and taught to employees.

To date, the program is running smoothly with a negligible error rate. Hilton is very pleased with our solutions to their complicated communication challenges – and with their bottom line.

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