Ask the Snail! Personalizing in Pittsburg

Ask the Snail

Have a burning question about Direct Mail that you've been longing to have answered? Ask Zippy! Zippy the Snail has been in the field of marketing since its inception. His wisdom is unmatched to those other "couriers" out there, and he's about as direct as it gets! Submit your questions to

NaviStone Infographic Logo-1Dear Zippy,

I just came back from a print conference and heard an interesting comment from one of the presenters regarding personalization. The speaker said, "Personalization doesn't work, it's not necessary". This is in direct contrast to everything I thought I knew about the importance of personalization. Can you help clear this up? Does personalization make a difference when targeting consumers? 


Personalizing in Pittsburg

Dear Personalizing in Pittsburg,

Well, first of all, there is a difference between personalization and individualization, so what exactly was the speaker referring to?

When I think of personalization, I think of using the consumers name in the marketing communication. Is there a difference between addressing your outreach as “Hi Zippy” vs. “The Snail Family”. Or, even worse, Current Resident. I think there is. And, what about those offers that are gender specific? As an example, if you are marketing cosmetics, is there a difference between marketing to the female in the household – the person who indicated interest in that product – vs. the household in general? Again, I sure think so. Imagine you are Men’s Warehouse. Will it make a difference if you target the male in the household? Of course it will! As an advertiser you have an obligation to know who your customer is. After all, they are telling you. 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized to them.

When I think of individualization, I think about further customization of the outreach to not only include the appropriate household name, but to also use relevant creative imagery to speak to the consumer at the visual and emotional level, and a meaningful offer based on the specific preferences of the specific individual you are marketing to. Don’t use an image of petite apparel when the last thing I bought from you was plus size.

As marketers, our job is to create that 1:1 connection with the consumer. What better way to do that than to speak to them directly (vs. my household) with a relevant message?

Best wishes,

Zippy the Snail

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