Proof that personalisation works

Ar article appeared today in the US based print newsletter “WhatTheyThink?” by Heidi Tolliver-Walker about personalisation. Personalisation takes advantage of the ability of digitally printed products to make every copy of a document different. On our web sie, we describe personalisation thus.

“One of the characteristics of digital printing that sets it apart from conventional offset printing is the ability of digital presses to make every page that comes out of the machine different from the page before it.

“Because the information on each page is constructed electronically and is not physically burnt onto a plate, as in the case of offset printing, it is possible for each page in a print run to differ from the page before it.

“The technical problems involved in doing this have to do with the speed the data must be processed at in order to keep the press running a full speed, and the software required to build and process what we call a ‘variable data’ job.

“The degree to which each page differs from the preceding page might be slight or very significant. For instance, a simple case might involve just the name and address on a flyer changing. A more complex application would involve complete slabs of text, photographs and background colours changing.

“Each page doesn’t have to be different. A print run of say 1000 pieces, might consist of 50 different sets of 20, just as it might consist of 1000 different pieces.”

The article referred to above gives a recent example of the power of personalisation. The return on investment (ROI) for a well constructed personalised piece has always been impressive. This example shows just how impressive!

I recently ran across a company that produces personalized newsletters for healthcare providers. The solution, called PENS, marries patient data from hospitals and other care providers with targeted content. Based on the services and treatment in the patient’s health history, the healthcare provider can send out targeted newsletters that are relevant to each individual recipient’s health history.  Pretty neat!

The results are impressive.

For example, in a reader survey conducted for ProHealth Care, a two-hospital system in Waukesha, WI, 73% of recipients said they read the newsletters cover to cover and 95% became aware of services that they didn’t realize the healthcare provider had.

It’s no wonder that, at Aspirus (Wausau, WI), among current patients, newsletter recipients were 500% more likely to continue to use the healthcare systems’ services than those who did not receive the newsletter. Among prospects, PENS newsletter recipients were 300% more likely to ultimately use the healthcare provider’s services than those who were not.

Those are some powerful numbers!

Because the PENS solution automatically tracks the relationship between which articles the recipient receives and utilization of services, PENS customer can calculate detailed ROI.

At Prohealth Care, articles on incontinence received only 50:1 ROI. But those on cardiac screening received 226:1 and 444:1 ROI, respectively, depending on the year.

Not every marketer can create newsletters to this level of detail, of course, but the point is that relevance really works. There is another point, too. You’ll only know that if you track it!