Personalization Tools: Are you Walking the Walk?

A colleague just referred me to this article from Direct: Online Marketers Talk the Talk, But Don’t Walk the Walk: Study. The article made me stop and ask myself, “Is effectively using personalization tools?”

And it made me realize that we’re definitely NOT doing all we can, especially in terms of our own newsletter. Though we are doing some personalization, we are far from a stellar example of best practices. If you are a leader in a company, like I am, you might ask yourself, “What are we doing and how much more can we do?”


In the study, it was noted that three quarters of online marketers recognize that personalizing offers should be a tool, but that only half are actually using personalization tools. Years ago, recognized the critical importance of personalization. We generated a personalized “savings certificate” with your name on it, stating, “Leslie, you will receive Free Shipping.” This was an attention grabbing device that immediately helped us convert that “browsing consumer” into a bon-a-fide sale.

And yet … I am now reviewing that strategy and understanding we didn’t make excellent use of personalization tools. We took the first step, or two, and didn’t go further.

Another point in the article - on performance metrics - also resonated with me, particularly for catalog retailers.

Coremetrics, specializing in marketing optimization, has discovered a disconnect between knowing and doing. Online marketers – 47% of us - reported that we would determine the success of 2009 by analyzing our performance metrics. But a whopping 62% of those of us who are looking at data lack confidence in our selection of metrics.

It is distressing to me when catalogers spend precious marketing dollars on programs and then fail to track responses and perform accurate trackbacks. In today’s multi-channel marketing world, especially in online shopping, a consumer will often go to the Web – print catalog in hand – and place their order by simply typing an item number. The entire process for the consumer takes a few short minutes.

What catalog firms are missing, tragically, is that it is critical to “trackback” where they originally got the lead: from the mailed print catalog. Just because a consumer orders online or by phone does not mean that a direct mail catalog did not prompt them to take action.

This is why tracking performance and tracking leads is so vitally important.

John Squire, chief strategy officer of Coremetrics, issued a statement, "Companies that can harness marketing technology can then get the most meaning and value out of the data they collect from it. In turn this enables companies to personalize their marketing efforts and create a competitive advantage."

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The topic Personalization Tools: Are you Walking the Walk? is absolutely new for me, but it sounds very interesting. I will read more about this topic and make me my own opinion. Thanks, Mary Wein

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