You no longer have to be an expert in 1:1 print marketing in order to use 1:1 print marketing.
[dropcap]A[/dropcap] real estate agent goes to a Web site and orders a series of 1:1 personalized postcards. The goal? For each of her clients to receive a postcard with full-color images of the latest houses to come on the market that fit their individual criteria. On the back of the card are bullet points — price, school information, taxes, lot size — whatever is most important to each family. By the end of the next business day, the cards are in the mail.
Sound like science fiction? Or is this real estate agent really an IT guru with a side job?
In reality, she is just like many small business owners and marketers — the beneficiary of some of today’s most sophisticated market applications without requiring her to have specialized knowledge, thanks to the miracle of technology.
Database Guru No More
It used to be that, in order to create powerful 1:1 print campaigns, you had to be a combination marketing wiz and database master. But as these applications have developed, Arkansas Graphics (AGI) is working to make this technology accessible to everyone, whether created offline or accessed through the Internet (web to print). It requires a little upfront work, but especially for long-term applications, it can have a big payoff.
Here’s how it works. You brainstorm an application — ideally something that will run on a weekly, monthly or other program basis — and work with Arkansas Graphics to set up the rules, develop layouts (including areas of variability) and pre-approve content, such as text blocks, images and databases.
When it comes time to deploy, one of two things can happen. If the application is Internet-based, individual users log in, make selections about what they want to include and then click “okay.” If the application is not Internet-based, they can work directly with AGI to make the necessary tweaks.
These applications are analogous to ordering a book from, say, Amazon.com. The technology behind the searching, selection and ordering is extremely complex. But all users have to do is know how to click. It’s all about simplifying the process.
Creation Versus Usage
Although each campaign will have slightly different elements, each will have the same two over-arching characteristics:
The person using the application isn’t necessarily the same person who designs it. In advance, someone else sets up the rules for the campaign, pre-defines the templates and pre-approves and uploads any re-usable assets. Rules include whether you want to allow users to upload their own assets, such as a realtor uploading pictures of her most recent home sales.
The order process is straightforward and simple, so that all the user has to do is fill out basic information. This could be as simple as inputting a ZIP code or as complex as selecting the products and promotional messaging for a personalized catalog. Once selected, the elements are flowed in, the rules applied and the piece automatically produced and shipped to the right location.
Truly, you no longer have to be an expert in 1:1 print marketing in order to use 1:1 print marketing.