Monday, March 22, 2010

Database Power in Direct mail and VDP - basic concepts

Overall VIPER2 concept:

The VIPER2 concept is revolutionary, and it breaks the barrier between "traditional" and "online" marketing by blending the best of both in a seamless personalized user experience. It was designed by us, the pioneers of landing page personalization, with a portfolio of dozens of Fortune 500 clients who have used what we now call the VIPER2 system successfully, time and time again.

Much has been proposed, written and sold since my team and I came up with the initial release of this method in 1999. The lip service paid to "personalization" and "landing pages" in recent years can take up an encyclopedia. Rest assured that none of the more expensive systems even come close to the level of advancement and sophistication of the VIPER2 system.

Here are the core principles of our approach - and why no other system even compares to VIPER2:

a) We prepare your list for advanced hybrid personalization: A data list, in order to allow cross-platform (hybrid) personalization, requires unique identifiers for each record. In other words, you want to give your mail recipients a login page to visit, in addition to any other response mechanism (business reply card, 800 number, etc). Such an ID has multiple applications: it identifies the campaign batch, the offer, identifies the recipient, and it allows the recipient to log in to your online offers.

These individual IDs cannot be duplicates (since that would cause recipients to access each other's records) and they cannot be sequential or incremental (such as Autonumber in MS Access), since that would make it easy for any one recipient to guess someone else's ID and access other people's records. For obvious privacy reasons we cannot use a phone number or Social Security number. So we create these Unique IDs for our VIPER2 clients. Remember, VIPER2 is available as a service, so work on your part is minimal. You just run your campaign, for the most part, the way that you normally would.

b) Give something away, and tell them how to get it - never sell anything in an introduction: You must come up with a powerful incentive to get recipients to act (we can help you with over 10 years of experience here). We are and you owe it to yourself to pick our brain before you decide what to give away. Instant downloads work best, especially when there is intrinsic perceived vaule in them. We can tap into years of research, because truth be told, what worked 4 years ago may be obsolete now.

c) Motivate them to act now: There should always be a strong motivator to act now (such as limited time, pending expiration date, first 25 get a powerful additional bonus, or a combination of motivators which together compound the "urgency imperative" of your message). You MUST make good on your threats: your campaign form should stop taking submissions after the advertised campaign closing date. This way you educate slackers that you are serious, and they will respect you for it. Altough, an alternate means to contact you is displayed to those who miss your deadline, but not the respective bonus for answering on time.

d) Provide the easiest possible way to respond: The mail piece, email, fax or SMS going out to your list provides each recipient with both an easy web address (URL) and a Unique Login ID for them to log in and claim the campaign incentive(s). This gives them instant gratification, and (in the back end) it gives you instant leads each time they log in to "check out" your offer. This allows you immense targeting power in follow-ups. You just call the people who took the time to log in at least. Instead of calling the whole list, you start with the "warm" prospects!

e) The principal rule of landing pages: The landing page should never be "mixed" into your regular web site. Preferably a campaign is hosted at a separate "campaign" web address. We provide affordable campaign hosting on an advanced server which supports data-driven campaign traffic and is engineered from the ground up to work with VIPER2 . A landing page must always stay "focused" on getting the user to do the ONE THING they came to do: log in and claim the offer they came there for, promised in your ad, message or mail piece. That means no menus or any other clickable distractions, such as "visit our main web site!

f) End-to-end personalization: In addition to mail-merging (which I hope you are familiar with) or the VDP that you'd normally do, our method implies also offering an option to claim an instant incentive online via clicking (if email) or logging in (if direct mail). All our testing for a decade shows it is critically important that this follow-up online interaction ALSO be personalized, just like your letter. That is the main purpose of the unique identifiers we spoke about earlier.

The login process quickly retrieves their record from the database and displays their information. So the next page (usually a form you want them to complete) says "Hello Jane!" instead of a generic greeting. All the incentives you promised in your letter should be displayed on this landing page so they don't need any other clicks to access their goods. You already know who they are, so you can deliver after login without asking them to do anything else. If you want them to complete a form, it should be pre-populated with the details we already have (this simple courtesy reduces friction, increasing the percentage of response significantly).

g) Reduced friction: If you are presenting a form to complete (order, subscription), make sure form is pre-populated with everything our data list knows about them (name, address, phone, checkboxes, information based on past purchases, etc). If you are familiar with VDP, you have some idea of the possibilities. Truth be told, online you can do a lot more than with a VDP printer, since dynamic data and dynamic media make for very creative possibilities.

Recipient Viewpoint: so you have a personalized mailer, a unique ID, easy login (leads come in from here), personalized greeting, personalized form which is already completed (clients come in from here), the incentives are in their face, and the motivator to act now is clear. Do you see what a powerful compound effect such a process has?

Best of all, you don't need an MIS director, a web designer, a database programmer, and then a Direct Marketing savant to get them all to devise a platform, and then to create rules for them to work together efficiently. We do it all for you.

h) Instant lead delivery: I am sure you will appreciate this enormously... when John Doe opens your envelope, sees the login option, the desirability of your incentive, the urgency of the motivator, and the fact that you possess such technology, he will enter the easy web address and type in his login, even if only out of curiosity. The moment Jack logs in, your phone will alert you with a text message such as:

Subject: (212) 555-1234

March 20, 2009 4:20PM

Jack Smith has logged in.

Login ID: Z8320982A

123-89 79th Place

Ridgewood, NY 11385

On newer touch-screen PDA phones (MDA, Sidekick, iPhone, etc), you just click on the phone number in the subject line and it instantly gets dialed for you.

Nothing will blow John Doe's socks off faster than getting a courtesy or thank you call 5 minutes after he logged in to get his freebies or downloadable materials from you.

And remember, all of this happens before John even decided whether to work with you. John is an important category of person to you. He was interested enough to log in and look at your offer.

At this point you can call John:

For example you can call to say... "Hi John, my name is XY and you have probably heard of my name or reputation.

I am the owner of and I called to see if you need any help completing the online application form.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have."

Or you may not want to reveal the awesome power you have, and instead you say:

"I've sent you a letter a few days ago and. I am sure that once you've read it, you probably have thought of some questions you wanted to ask me". Then let them say "what a coincidence, I was just looking at your web site now".

Then you say "well, everything happens for a reason"... and so on.

How is that for POWER and CONTROL in a direct marketing campaign? I was halfway through my MBA when I discovered how this works, and I dropped out of school to dedicate myself to improving it. Then I've spent the next ten years making it better. If you are half as excited to learn it as I am to show it to you, your business has changed forever this very day!

1 comment:

Curtis said...

Direct mailing is very effective in internet marketing for advertisements, posts and ads. It should be increase the level of marketing techniques.

direct mail