Personalisation in direct mail, two recent examples

Posted in B2B, B2C, Database, Direct Marketing, Not for profit, UK on 22/01/2009 by Richard Gibson

Arriving amongst two other seminar invitations today was this one. Obviously it stuck out, massively in fact. It is well designed and rife with personalisation. On the outer alone I count seven uses of data driven personalisation including most frequently my name, company, job title and once on the addressing my academic award. I thought I’d share it as it is an effective use of data elements that most B2B brands will have access to.

Upon opening it up there are plenty more data driven elements mostly similar to the outer and using the creative treatment of the newspaper to show me a quote from myself on what I can get out of data [the event].

IDM Data Council Summit, Front 1 of 2 - 22-01-09

You can see the reverse of this piece, with further personalisation here.

After receiving the IDM piece I was reminded of a similar piece I had recently received from Cancer Research UK. This was as a direct result of a small donation I had made in the form of sponsoring someone.

Cancer Research UK, outside 1 of 2 - 2008

Although I am posting it in January 2009 I did actually make the donation and receive the piece last year, with the sponsorship in the summer and the mail piece arriving in around November 2008. The reverse of the addressing immediately caught my attention. Upon receipt I could not recall what I did on 17th July 2008. It turns out Cancer Research UK remembered what I did.
Cancer Research UK, inside 2 of 2 - 2008

Again, a great use of data driven personalisation. Because the captured the data, they have used the information to maximum effect. Upon opening the above tells me the name of the person I sponsored, the amount, the event that person participated in and how much the event raised for Cancer Research UK.

The piece goes on to request further donations to support the work of Cancer Research UK and makes a good enough case for doing so. The data elements were collected through the Just Giving web platform, at which point there is a consent question where the brand ask permission to contact the donor in the future.

The key data elements are potentially more hard hitting in the second piece, there are more of them and it is within the not for profit sector but in fairness to both brands they are using the data that they both have to exceptionally good effect.


A viral email campaign that I liked: Elautobus

Posted in Email marketing, International Marketing on 06/01/2009 by Richard Gibson

As I read in the January issue of Revolution (p25) Jeffrey Rayport coined the term, ‘viral marketing’ in 1996. Actually the entire page is taken up with the discussion of viral marketing in more general terms. Reading it reminded me of the last viral email marketing campaign I received.

I don’t often forward or for that matter receive too many emails with a viral element but this one arrived sometime in early December and I was duly impressed by it and forwarded it on to several of my contacts.

Why did I like it? Perhaps because of its simplicity, all the recipient has to do is forward it on, via entering friends details. When they open the email, the original recipient receives the message below. It also has the feel good factor. Whilst the host brand is ING Direct, they are raising funds for UNICEF, which is in my mind a great partnership in terms of halo effect.

The concept is very simple, a bus that travels around the world, raising money for children who don’t have a school. What the message below quite quickly tells you is how far the bus, or as the creative so delightfully has it ‘your bus’ has travelled (essentially who has opened your email and the distance between you and them), how long it took (in terms of sending to opening) and how much money you sending the email has helped to raise.

Thus far, I have not received further emails from ING Direct nor UNICEF, I’m not sure that as such it was a database building exercise, indeed that may have been a missed opportunity. I rather think it was a purely brand focused exercise on ING Direct’s part and to that end I should imagine successful.

It’s that simple. Perhaps that is why I liked it. You can see a small image of the email below, alternatively you can click here to see a larger version.

ING Direct Espana UNICEF Autobus Viral Email

For those not familiar with Spanish, an approximate translation would be:

¡Enhorabuena! Tu autobús acaba de llegar a su destino – Congratulations! Your bus has just reached its destination [name of viral recipient]

Ha tardado – It took 11 minutes

Ha recorrido – And has travelled 5,555 kilometers [Southall to New York]

Y ha recaudado – And has collected €5,555 for those children without a school

Si lo deseas, puedes realizar tu propia aportación – If you want, you can make your own donation

Recuerda que puedes seguir enviando autobuses – Remember you can send more buses by clicking here

Entra en Mis Trayectos y consulta – You can go to ‘my journeys’ and check progress.

Refrences used in this post

Revolution (January, 2009) London, Haymarket Business Media.

Wikipedia entry for Jeffrey Rayport, accessed 07/01/09.


This post was picked up today (14/01/09) as part of the DMA’s Infobox newsletter, here.

International Address Guide

Posted in Database, Direct Marketing, International Marketing on 02/01/2009 by Richard Gibson

SwissPost have released their International AddressGuide which contains a reasonable amount of information on 22 markets (demography,address format etc). And then in more depth an overview of data sources in each country along with more detailed information on who the key providers of data sources are along with contact information. Furthermore introductory pages contain useful tips on address formatting, translation of some technical terms as well as a glossary.

Any guide is a useful starting point before international expansion but suppliers in individual countries need to be selected with care as do the individual lists they represent so as to ensure particularly with prospect data sourcing the lists most likely to succeed are used. The guide is further of use to essentially size the market as part of the overall planning process.

Whilst suppliers are listed, actual lists or data sources other than those offered by list owners are not.  This isn’t neccesarily a drawback provided it is understood by  the user what services the supplier offers and which data sources they are recommending and why.

SwissPost are to be congratulated for putting together such a volume, with close to 300 pages. All in all a useful guide as a starting point when looking for international data sources. In the package I was sent came a very useful International Holiday Calendar for 2009, showing key holidays by country and a helpful European postcode map.

You can order your copy here.

International Address Guide - Consumer and business addresses from 22 countries - SwissPost

References used in this post

International AddressGuide: Consumer and business addresses from 22 countries (2008), SwissPost.

First post, a welcome

Posted in International Marketing, Uncategorized on 31/12/2008 by Richard Gibson

Welcome to this Direct Marketing Blog.

What this blog is about

This blog is about the several aspects of marketing, specifically direct and interactive marketing that interest me the most. Subcategories would include email and other forms of digital marketing and database marketing, that although may be seen as separate disciplines are for my purposes parts of direct marketing.

I am equally interested in B2B as well as B2C domestic (UK) as well as international direct and interactive marketing so will blog on those topics, amongst others.

Why I have set it up

Essentially as a central ‘store’ of my thoughts, contributions to articles or research that I have encountered that might be of interest. Or as Gerry McGovern refers to it, the web acts as a kind of collective “memory” (McGovern, 2006).

Barriers that I may face

Like everyone else, time is short so as I type this I am slightly worried about keeping it updated frequently enough. I want to ensure that I keep the content good, trustworthy and above all interesting. What worried me a little piece of information in Gerry McGovern’s book that websites published by individuals are in the main “trusted by only 9%” (McGovern, 2006).

I am also concerned about not being negative or overly critical. I think it could be a little too easy to critisize campaigns run by others, so that is something I want to avoid. If I do post campaigns I plan to share what I like about them, what I felt were the positive aspects either from a marketing standpoint, a recipient standpoint or both.

Further because I want this blog to act as a store, I do want to republish some thoughts or articles that may have been published elsewhere. When this happens I will make reference to where the article first appeared. I also intend to fully reference any book, journal or white paper articles or reports that I may find or use.

I hope that it will evolve over time and look forward to seeing what becomes of it. I have deliberately decided to try a new platform after having several blogs hosted on different platforms. Thus far I have been impressed with WordPad.

References used in this post

McGovern, Gerry (2006) Killer Web Content, London, AC & Black.