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Lobcast Podcast: Personalization & Pina Coladas

Personalization is the name of the game in marketing, but it can also be a challenge to get it right. Learn how to personalize your marketing campaigns to drive better results and ROI.

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On this episode of the Lobcast Podcast, we’re mixing up piña coladas and talking all things personalization. 

Key highlights include:

  • 79% of consumers are only likely to engage with a brand’s offer if that offer has been personalized to reflect previous interactions that the consumer has had with the brand
  • Preference centers provide insight into what your customers want, and you can aggregate learnings to uncover trends within your own customer database by age, gender, household income, size of family, type of purchase, etc. You also create a new level of trust with your customer because you show them you care about their wants and only wish to provide them with communication they look forward to
  • Before setting up any automated workflows, it's important to have a clear strategy in place that outlines your goals and how personalization will help you achieve them. This strategy should take into account your target audience, their preferences and behaviors, and the specific messages or offers you want to deliver
  • Social media sentiment, seasonal trends, local events, and customer behavior patterns are variables marketers should pay attention to in order to improve campaign performance

Meet the Speakers

Stephanie Donelson

Senior Content Marketing Manager

Summer Hahnlen

Senior Director - Direct Mail Expert in Residence

STEPHANIE: Hello. And welcome to the Lobcast Podcast: Mixers and Marketing. I'm Stephanie Donelson, your hostess with the marketing mostess, and I'm the senior content marketing manager here at Lob. I'm thrilled to be joined yet again with Summer Hahnlen. Summer, do you mind giving our listeners a quick recap of your professional experience?

SUMMER: Sure. Happy to. And I feel bad also for anyone who's seen me on some of the prior ones, like, I already know who she is. We want you to go through this every time. Maybe I'll change it up a little bit. So I've been in the direct marketing space for twenty-one years now, so just over twenty. Working in client side relations, agency work, running omnichannel programs, not just direct mail, So I really have a specialty in not only you know testing personalization, but how you use all the channels together and how different brands are finding it to be very effective.

STEPHANIE: Well, thank you for joining us again today, and you should change it up. I could make that it's like a little crossword like, what words have you used to describe your background and post it on social.

SUMMER: Make it a bingo game!

STEPHANIE: Alright, listeners, we are talking about personalization and we are sipping piña coladas, so if you do want to make the complimentary cocktail, a piña colada, you are going to need six ounces of white rum, six ounces of cream of coconut, six ounces of pineapple juice, a half cup of pineapple chunks, four cups ice, and four ounces golden rum for a floater. Now, this does make four to six servings, so be sure to share this with your marketing friends. You're gonna pour the white rum, the coconut cream, the pineapple juice, and the pineapple chunks, and ice into a blender, blend until smooth, pour into a glass, and then top of the golden run float, if desired, and serve. I cheated a little bit mine's a little watery, more than the frozen version. But it's also a little cold in my office today, so here's the one I went with. So cheers.

SUMMER: Cheers. I feel like you probably should have started off before you said six ounces of white rum, that it was a a multi-serving cocktail.

STEPHANIE: I just want people to be really loose for this episode as they soak in all the knowledge you're gonna share. Alright. So, as I said, we're gonna be talking about a topic that many marketers love, but they can also find it really challenging. Personalization. According to a stat in our Modern Marketer's Guide to Personalization, 79% percent of consumers are only likely to engage with the brand's offer if that offer has been personalized to reflect previous interactions that the consumer has had with that brand. But where do we get that data regarding those interactions? Summer, what are some data sources that marketers should be using to personalize marketing campaigns?

SUMMER: So, I know you love this answer and I'm gonna start with but it actually depends. So, you love it, but I did it so many times in the last podcast. So if you're actively capturing first party customer data, then your retention program possibilities are really endless. You can capture previous purchase history, you can show lifestyle imagery that matches customers' most recent or frequent purchase, you can even capture the length of a customer's life cycle to date and personalized offers timed with important yearly milestones or or even study inflection points to get ahead of churn. Acquisition personalization is a little more limited and it's just based because this is data captured by a trusted partner versus yourself, and so it will be through the intelligence of your competitors or knowing a competitor's recent purchase history. So, for example, a data partner could tell you that you can be right there in the mail stream with something related to home goods because someone has just purchased a brand new home or they're renting a new condo, or maybe B2C good, that would be perfect for a new baby because they're aware of a life event, but it really is contingent upon the data partners that you're working with. And what types of access they have to data?

STEPHANIE: Oh, definitely. I mean, we actually just attended a baby shower for a friend, so we were buying baby gifts. Now all of my Facebook ads are about babies, and I'm like, it wasn't for me, but good on your ads. So, Summer, what kind of best practices should marketers follow to collect that personalization data? Like I think of progressive profiling when looking at leads, But what other methods should marketers consider to get that data that's required for personalization?

SUMMER: So the most important thing I think people need to really think about is capturing and cleansing your first party data wherever possible. I have heard the term death by data so many times by very large organizations that have a ton of data, but they don't really know what to do with it and they don't find that it's very clean when they try to actually work with it. So you want to be smart about how often you're looking at your data and cleaning it. And you also want to be smart about what variables you want to use. You can also partner with very trusted analytics and modeling resources to capture data outside of your organization and what they have can be really useful and be very supplemental to what you're already doing and can give you a more holistic picture of what your customer is really thinking about and where they're making purchases.

STEPHANIE: Oh, yeah, I don't think I've ever been on a marketing team where we trust our data one hundred percent even if we've collected ourselves, you're still gonna have some of those people that are filling out forms and just whatever the first drop down option is, they're picking it because they just wanna get that ebook. Yeah. It's really making sure that you've taken the time to either like you said cleanse that data or kind of skip over it f you're not sure that it's actually going to be valid.

SUMMER: There's nothing worse than receiving a personalized mouthpiece and having it addressed to the wrong person or reference. I have one in my little box of references that's letting me know that my Acura something or other needs to be serviced. I own a Jeep, don't know where they got this information, but it certainly did not make we feel good.

STEPHANIE: No. They're like, wait, where's this Acura that I have? Right. I know.

SUMMER: Why is that somehow in someone's database?

STEPHANIE: I think there's a lot of questions I have about some of the data about myself that I've even seen on advertising cold emails, even cold direct mail that I'm like, Where did you get this from? Because this is not me at all. But are there any tools or marketing tech that you regard highly when it comes to being able to personalize marketing messages?

SUMMER: So more companies than ever are focusing at marketing spend and marketing technology because, I mean, just very transparently, marketing teams are just stretched very thin and are always being asked to do more with less. So I always recommend you begin your research with an eye toward your actual budget, not the budget you want to have, but the budget you actually have. And then what your channel needs are because there are a lot of great tech stack options out there, but not all are created equal and serve every need well. And if an organization says they do everything perfect all the time, there's probably something in there you need to really study. So I feel like this is a really good time and this is a shameless plug. To talk about the fact that we can really do that one to one direct mail personalization. So we are a great company to be looking at. Personally. But we also have some great partnerships with companies like copy.ai and the ability to integrate with CRMs like Salesforce, Braze, and Iterable. So keep an eye out for companies that have great partnerships and have great ability to integrate. And and again, I don't wanna just plug, you know, what we do. There are some amazing companies out there, but just keep in mind what your budget is and what the strategy is for what you actually wanna be doing.

STEPHANIE: Oh, don't worry. On the last podcast Dave was plugging Lob all over the place talking about our API and how easy it is to integrate with any CRM system or homegrown database system that you use, which is one of the values of it like you don't have to rely on, okay, this particular integration like we can make whatever work based on whatever you have.

SUMMER: Yep. It's fair. I always just I watch out for it because I wanna make sure that people are getting a lot of useful information.

STEPHANIE: Oh, definitely. And don't worry. I think we do a pretty good job on that one. Alright, so Kim and I have talked on the podcast before about preference centers. And their importance for building trust and better relationships between brands and their customers. Do you think brands could be doing more with preference centers to maximize the effectiveness of their marketing effort as well as personalizing their marketing campaigns?

SUMMER: One hundred percent consumers continue to show us that they want the power to choose. And that includes what types of channels and the pace of communication they wanna receive. So preference centers provide not only insight into what your customers want, and you can then aggregate those learnings to uncover trends within your own database, but they also create a new level trust with your customer because you show them that you care about what they want and that you only wish to provide them with communication they look forward to. One of the biggest roadblocks that I see when people are looking at creating a perfect center is being able to put it in a road map and be able to get it on an IT system and you need to have the manpower to be able to put something like this in place. And it isn't incredibly easy for larger organizations to do. So if you're a smaller organization, I would say just start with the basics and start with leveraging email and direct mail with a single piece that says, tell us how you actually want to be communicated with and and figure this out as you go along. It does not need to be perfect when you get it out there, but you need to start because this is what customers are asking for.

STEPHANIE: No, definitely. And like I said, Kim and I have talked about this a few times on the podcast, I believe, especially on the marketing mail, where we talked about the difference between email and direct mail and how they can work together, and we both knew some brands that it's like, you know, you make a purchase, or maybe you sign up for their emails because you want to get that first like hello, welcome to our email list, here's twenty percent off. But then you just keep getting emails and emails from them and it's like, oh, okay, like, I just I wanted one touch point where if you introduce that preference right away, it can be like, I want monthly emails, and so that way I'm excited when I see your name in my inbox, instead of being like, what what now?

SUMMER: Well, you expect to be bombarded. That's how people feel about marketing these days, is that they're just bombarded. Especially in the digital space.


SUMMER: And so if you're given at the onset of your journey, an opportunity to say what you actually want, but you feel like that's a company you wanna to over and over again?

STEPHANIE: Yep. Well, yeah, you've already earned my trust. You've asked me how often I feel comfortable getting messages from you. I'm going to be more likely to open them when you do, because I've said, I've I've indicated interest in coupons or sales that you're running, I've indicated interest in women's clothing, maybe this particular style, so I know when you email me you're taking all those factors into account, so it's going to be, hey, here's the exact dress you're looking for for your birthday celebration coming up soon, like, great, I am more likely to convert than just the random every week emails that I get.

SUMMER: That feel like someone's just pressing a button and you're part of the big group.



STEPHANIE: Okay. So I'm gonna pose Maybe what might be a controversial question here, as you and I have talked previously about marketing data and lists and how those third party data sources can be personalized. So, if you could only rely on demographic data, or behavioral data to personalize a marketing campaign, which would you choose?

SUMMER: So I think it's important to probably level set and give it like a brief description of what those two types of data are just in case anybody is listening to maybe like, I don't really know the difference and why it matters. So demographic data is capturing the characteristics of a population like age, gender, income, education level, geographic location. And that's where a lot of people start. And this type of data really helps to understand the general makeup of your target audience and can help you tailor your message and campaigns to appeal to those groups. Behavioral data is information about how people actually behave like their browsing history, their purchase history, and engagement with your brand. And this data is incredibly useful for understanding how your target audience interacts with brands and can help personalize your messaging and campaigns based on their interest and behaviors. An example would be like if a customer has been browsing a certain product on your website, you can use that information to send them then personalized recommendations or promotions for that product. So in general, I find behavioral data is more valuable because purchase history and what people are actually doing is generally more valuable than demographic data because this issue is more specific provides more actionable intel into how your target audience actually interacts with your brand. Demographic data though is still valuable for understanding the general makeup of your audience and tailoring your messaging and campaigns. But it can be limiting and I think it can actually create some general assumptions about an audience subset that aren't entirely true and by that I mean some of the recent studies that have been done that show that younger generations really love direct mail because they find that it drives a stronger like trust based relationship. But if you're looking at demographic data from the last couple of years, you might say, oh, well, older people are more skewed toward direct mail, so that's where I'm gonna focus. So you wanna actually focus on how people are really behaving with their purchases. And this is a super long answer, so I apologize, but so I feel like the best approach is to use a combination of both types of data. And get a much more comprehensive understanding of your target audience and improve your marketing efforts, but if I had to pick just one, I would go with behavioral data every day because it's more nuanced just like your customers are.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, no, and don't feel bad about giving us long answers. This is why we have experts like you come on here, to teach me and our listeners things.

SUMMER: The next one will be super short. I'll do a couple of really short ones.

STEPHANIE: All right, so we just talked about behavioral data and using that to personalized campaigns, but do you think the personalization strategy changes when we're running acquisition campaigns versus retention campaigns?

SUMMER: And this one I can keep short, yes, because when you're running a retention campaign, you have first party data, so the possibilities are endless. So your strategy is more nuanced. And in an acquisition campaign, you don't have as much available data that you can rely upon, and so your strategy is going to be more limited. So it's going to completely change based on the amount of reliable data you have.

STEPHANIE: And I think that goes back to kinda what we were talking about earlier, making sure that your data is clean, that you trust where it came from. It's actually accurate. They're not reaching out to you about your Acura that you don't own.

SUMMER: Right. That example, but yeah.

STEPHANIE: All right, so Summer, what's a brand that sticks out to you as one that excels at personalization? Like to me, Spotify jumps out, just based on their personalized concert recommendations, the yearly Spotify Wrapped, that is completely about me, also Spotify telling me that they see me replaying the same song ninety nine times in a row, but what about you? Is there a brand that impresses you with their personalization efforts?

SUMMER: Amazon comes to mind immediately because they actively use browsing history and purchase history and search queries to suggest products that are likely to be of interest to me and they usually hit the nail on the head. But if I'm allowed to pick more than one, I would also say Sephora, because we do the same sort of thing. But they also offer these really great virtual try on features that allow you to see how products will look on your own skin tone and as a fair red head. That's incredibly valuable. And then another one that came to mind, you see you can tell where I'm spending my money is Starbucks. Because, again, they use purchase history, they use browsing history and they create very personalized offers and promotions, which is an interesting nuance. And I love that their their mobile app will allow customers to actually pre order and pay for things ahead of time. So if you're a busy mom like me, you're running in you're describing what you need, then you're running right back out. So it's personalized and convenient.

STEPHANIE: Definitely. Think that actually reminds me of another one. Kind of DoorDash does that too, like they remember like, okay, you have ordered from this poke restaurant like sixteen times a row, you keep getting the same thing. Do you just want a quick word of that? And yes, yes, I do.

SUMMER: And that's a different human experience. I live in a place where the only thing that I can do or dashes Walgreens because in the middle of nowhere, so I don't use any of those meal delivery things.

STEPHANIE: Oh, you were missing out, man.

SUMMER: I know, but also I'm in I'm in a really lovely area of the country.

STEPHANIE: So That is yep. That is fair. Mean, yeah, you get your trade off. Right?

SUMMER: Right. My Starbucks is in a bank, so it's not even its own Starbucks.

STEPHANIE: Alright, since we're already talking about brands that do personalization well, let's talk about personalization in action. Summer, what personalization variables should marketers be focused on in their campaigns?

SUMMER: The quick answer here is the one that drives the most value and that the only way to determine what elements drive the high whether it's your ROI, your ROAS, your CPIA, which is your cost per incremental ad, is to test them against each other, or if you have the a large enough audience, you can actually do a multivariate test where you can really do like a layer of multiple things playing against each other. I say you wanna have a lot of volume there because you wanna reach stat sig or I refrain from saying statistical significance because I can never do it well, it cocktail, but that sounded okay. But basically, if I were I had to start with one, I would say start with something like your call to action or maybe your offer, like whether you do a dollar offer or a percentage off, There's a lot of great options out there, but you wanna cleanly AB test those to make sure that they're actually driving the value that you're hoping they will drive. And you can measure whether or not they're doing what you hope they'll do.

STEPHANIE: No, alright, so I'm gonna pose another, maybe tough question. But if you could only offer one best practice for marketers testing personalization variables, what would you say?

SUMMER: Call to action. Because this is your money maker. It's it's what your customer is actually looking for for trying to reach out to you. There are so many great things you can test. But what matters most? And that's how the prospect or the customer actually reaches out to you.

STEPHANIE: Oh, that's a great answer.

SUMMER It's definitely short.

STEPHANIE: And it wasn't it depends.

SUMMER: Right.

STEPHANIE: Alright, but what about getting people to see the call to action? Sometimes, depending on the medium or the form that the message comes in, we skip right over it. So let's talk specifically in direct mail real quick. Do you think form factor has any weight in personalization, such as knowing your customers prefer postcards versus letters?

SUMMER: Definitely, we have a lot of customers at law who will actually start with testing form factor because or format as another terminology people use. Because they have a theory in their mind that if they change the format and use the same sort of copy or imagery that it could make the world of difference and they they generally find that it will certainly make a difference. This one is interesting because it helps you understand how your customers want to be communicated with. And I think of like B2B sometimes letters just work better because you have to in a business get through the first person who's personally cycling through the mail. I hope there's a way to put that, and postcards usually don't make the cut. But if something looks like a generic envelope and doesn't have a big logo on it and it's just a double window standard white envelope, usually it's making it to the next point. Because that person might not have the ability to be able to open up that envelope. And so testing formats really helps you understand really engagement and open rates?

STEPHANIE: No, definitely. And actually on the last podcast, Dave and I were talking about that, you know, even in the operational mail space, Like I told him that I had gotten a letter from our fire district, and I was like, why is the fire district sending me mail? Like, as far as I know nothing has been on fire, and it was just, you know, to let me know about an upcoming, like, town hall they were having, to talk about, like, mill levy stuff, And I had opened it because, again, I was curious why are they sending me this, and then they followed it up with a postcard reminding me about it, and I saw the postcard and just like, that letter got my attention. It got me to open it.

SUMMER: I like that though, that they that they did a follow-up with a different format though just to test And also sometimes it's like a reminder card kind of thing.

STEPHANIE: Alright. So I'd love to talk about time based personalization real quick. How does the timing of a campaign impact personalization, such as if we're sending direct mail about a birthday or an anniversary or thirty days after purchase. How do you think that impacts personalization?

SUMMER: I think customers really appreciate being recognized for their loyalty. And brands that do this well are driving very mindful personalization and and doing outreach at the right time based on really just being honest with the customer about how long this person's been with their brand, whether it's like the anniversary of a year or two years or whatever makes the right kind of sense. It's also great to recognize someone's birthday where I see and I'm gonna be super transparent here. Where I see it fail is when someone nods to it and then focuses on an offer. So it's it's very important if you're going to do this because it works incredibly well, is that you make sure it's an honest outreach that focuses on the anniversary or the birthday first and not your special offer. Customers already feel like they're being marketed to if they're being reached out to buy buy a brand and they don't wanna feel like every outreach isn't asked for them to buy something from you. So just put yourself in their shoes and make sure that if you're going to go the route which works very well, but it usually works well for things where you're measuring save rate or stickiness or that type of thing, make sure you're focusing on the customer and why this recognition is important to them, don't make it about you.

STEPHANIE: No, I actually think Naked Wines, one of the examples on our websites, they do a great version of this where they send out a thank you card from the winemaker, there's no action of like, hey, buy another case already. It's strictly a thank you for supporting me in my business. You guys make this possible for me to make this wine for you guys. Really appreciate it. Thanks for being a member.

SUMMER: That's it. Yeah.

STEPHANIE: That's it.

SUMMER: I think that goes a very long way.

STEPHANIE: It does. I would be excited to get something like that because it's like, yeah, if I like your wine, obviously I'm gonna keep buying it, but you don't need to constantly sell me, like, just thank me for my business.

SUMMER: Honest outreach. Yep.

STEPHANIE: Alright. So, lastly, let's talk about marketing automation technology. And how it's changed the game. What should marketers keep in mind as they've set up automated workflows that will use personalization variables?

summer: So a couple things. This is gonna be a longer answer, I think, because there's a lot of things you wanna think about. Number one your strategy. You know how much I feel like we always need to start with the strategy. And data.


SUMMER: If you're gonna set up an automated workflow, you wanna have a very clear strategy that outlines your goals and and really encompasses the personalization you want to achieve those goals. So you wanna be thinking about your target audience, their preference, their behavior, specific messages you wanna offer, how you want to deliver that message. The other thing you want to keep in mind is leveraging relevant data and how do you effectively personalize with your automated workflow using that data and how do you make sure that data is being collected cleanly safely following all the compliance rules. And then last, but I always hate to put it last because I believe so passionately about it. You want to think to yourself how is marketing automation going to help me test and iterate? So essentially how does it help me quickly learn things and then at the same time that I'm learning those things help me then figure out what do I need to be testing next? Because you never wanna just test one thing and get it out the door and say, I figured that out. I'm done. My job is done. It's all about continuous improvement. And if your marketing automation technology helps you do that, that is a lot of bang for your buck.

STEPHANIE: Yeah. No, I think that, again, was kind of a game-changer, especially an email marketing automation, just being able to be like, Okay, we've got this nurture stream. We spent so much time creating these emails. Now, let's even refine it further and do AB tests just so we can see what versions people are reacting to, so then we can refine the next email in the series or completely overhaul it because, oh, wow, people are not reacting well to this subject line, or they're not clicking this button, but they've clicked all the other buttons in all the other series, like what is going on, what's the disconnect here, how can we make sure that we have a much better flow through the entire stream? Alright, so let's kick this up a notch, and talk about next-level personalization. So Summer, what are some variables that you think marketers aren't focusing on that could improve a campaign performance.

SUMMER: It's tough because marketers are getting very smart about this. So I feel like some of the ones that pop into my head that are not naturally used are things like social media sentiment. Monitoring your social media can really provide some crazy smart insights into how customers are actually feeling about your brand and your products. And that doesn't mean that your outreach then needs to be through social media. Channels all support one another and left one another up.


SUMMER: Seasonal trends, so thinking about back to school sales or tax refund season that always works really well for like home good providers or July Fourth for some reason. I'm not really sure quite why. I think the outdoor kind of trends there. Obviously, we always think about like the holiday promotions, but maybe think about those other seasonal trends that are a little bit more nuanced.


SUMMER: I love when brands will focus on local events when they're not a local brand, meaning they're in touch with their local community even though they're big brand that's maybe not based in that area. So, something where they could do a partnership with a local festival or an event or do like a special menu, but maybe they are a larger brand that isn't your mom and pop shop that actually like sponsored this whole thing?


SUMMER: I've seen someone do a really crazy thing with looking at weather patterns and then promoting and I think this is REI that did this promoting rain gear during rainy seasons in certain areas, which I thought was pretty creative. But it's tough because people are getting much better about this and they're thinking about data in different ways and ways to be more effective because as I said at the beginning of our podcast, people are being asked to do more with less, so we're getting smarter on how we're doing our outreach.

STEPHANIE: Yeah, I love that. Those are some really cool ideas, especially, yeah, just thinking outside the box, being creative with the data you have, I want to say there was a blog that I did not too long ago when we were talking about bucklips, and just the different ways that brands are using those in their letters, and it's like really making sure that, again, going back to our beginning conversation about demographic data, that you're not sending someone, you know, this tree covered in snow when they live in Florida. That doesn't match. Doesn't go with what they're expecting when they look out their window.

SUMMER: Or and this makes me think of an actual customer that I've worked with, maybe don't send to Arizona to retirement communities in the summer, they're not home.

STEPHANIE They are not.

SUMMER: So when you get a whole bunch of return to sender, that's why.

STEPHANIE: Nope, my parents live in a retirement community in Arizona, and they're saying goodbye to all their friends this week.

SUMMER: Right.

STEPHANIE: Alright, Summer, is there any technology that you recommend marketers take a second look at in order to level up their personalization in their marketing campaigns? No matter if the campaigns are digital or direct.

SUMMER: This is a tricky one because I feel like if a marketer is not using CRM system yet, that's where I think they should take a second look because -- Sure. -- it makes your life so much easier. I mean it really does help you improve your preservation capabilities because it gives you this centralized database of all the information that you need unlike your customer data, your segmentation, your automation, and you use that information then to drive personalized content. And then when you get the results you then have valuable insights that you then feed back into this. I think that if you're not working with a CRM that is going to be a game changer for a lot of marketers because teams are stretched very thin.

STEPHANIE: Yeah. I mean, yeah, you said it earlier and I think we all know the mantra of we're all being asked to do more with less.

SUMMER: I think I probably say it on every podcast every time we meet.

STEPHANIE: Again, I'm, again, I'm just gonna turn some of our key phrases into like a word bingo or words are --

SUMMER:Which makes me feel really awful about myself. Thank you very much.

STEPHANIE: No, no, I love it, because then it's just something to look forward to like, oh, is she going to wait ten minutes to say it? Do we drop into the first two?

SUMMER: You can start with it.

STEPHANIE: Or we'll just turn into like a a workout. So I'm ready for the beach. Like anytime you say something, I have to drop down and give you ten push ups.

SUMMER: Oh, that's a good idea. That's pretty good.

STEPHANIE: Get some working, workout in while I'm drinking.

SUMMER: Not a good combination.

STEPHANIE: What about the rollout of new personalization? Let's talk about that for a second. Should marketers do A/B tests to roll out new personalization variables?

SUMMER: One hundred percent. Otherwise, you don't really know what sticking and why. So you might have lift on a campaign and say to yourself that campaign was gangbusters and I tested a whole bunch of personalization but you don't know what personalization drove that lift. Is it just personalization?


SUMMER: I think though, to be fair, not every brand is going to have enough volume and budget perhaps to go out there and say, first, I'm gonna test the name, then I'm gonna test lifestyle imagery, then I'm gonna test call to action, then I'm gonna test offer, then I'm gonna test format, and I have a year long plan without a pocket budget associated with this and I can just do it. So that's why I feel like it's important to start with certain things that really matter to you. If you're in a position where you're saying to yourself, I don't know if I can afford to do straight A/B testing on every particular element. Then I'd say just begin by personalizing and you know me, I love testing, I love being able to read the results. We also have to start somewhere and not every brand listening to this is going to be able to do that in a very sequence sort of way just based on budget.

STEPHANIE: No, that's definitely fair. So, kind of a tangent of that, in your opinion, is there a channel that marketers should test new personalization variables on first?

SUMMER: I like to test in digital first. And again, I've worked in the direct mail space for twenty one years, but I've also worked in digital for just as long. So I love the fact that the channels really lift one another up. There's always a great halo effect of one channel positive positively impacting another channel. So, if you test it in digital, you get a very quick result and you use that in the physical channel. And the digital channel that comes to mind is email because it's the most similar for the amount of content you're able to include in the way that people actually process the information.

STEPHANIE: No, I love that. So, how can marketers evaluate the performance of personalization upgrades, like what metrics would you be closely tracking?

SUMMER: That's a tough one because every marketer who's a real marketer knows what KPIs matter most by program. So rather than me saying this is the KPI you should be watching out for, I'd rather just say marketers know what KPI is the need to be looking out for. If you're doing an acquisition campaign, you're looking at probably cost per incremental ad or return on ad spend. If you're doing a retention campaign, you could be looking at save rate as well as upgrades or cross sell or any of the other metrics that retention marketers look at. You're gonna know you're gonna know what kind of lift you need in order to continue to support that program. There are and I was actually asked by another customer about this recently about the amount of lift that personalization drives, so I went down the rabbit hole of looking up How much lift does personalization actually drive? And the rabbit hole took a while and I saw a wide range of results some of them very well backed, but they could be by industry or they could be numbers that I just don't feel comfortable saying out loud because they feel like they're very inflated. So the number that I found actually that I feel very comfortable saying is it's sponsored by the ANA and everyone knows the ANA and they said that personalization versus just standard generic messaging drives sixty two percent lift. So knowing that and that's not that's not a response rate that's lift.


SUMMER: So it should be very clear about that. Before somebody comes back and says you said that my piece would generate sixty two percent response rate. I feel like that in and of itself is the reason for why we're talking today. Because if we know that personalization can drive a lift of sixty two percent then everybody should be doing it and everybody should be studying it and figuring out what elements make the most sense and then hopefully more people publish what is working for them and more marketers learn from each other.

STEPHANIE: No, and I'm actually gonna say it myself, but it depends, I really do think that it depends, you know your audience best, you should start to have those kind of almost gut feelings of what they're going to react to. Now, your audience can obviously surprise you sometimes or throw you for a loop or you might be like, yeah, they're gonna totally click this email and nobody clicks on it. But you know what you're looking for, and I think it also ties back to your goals. Right, what were you trying to achieve? That's how you're gonna understand if this personalization variable or this test actually made that difference.

SUMMER: Right. And then you want to learn from it and then you want to plan your next one. And I always like to have a couple things in my back pocket so that I think to myself, if this doesn't work, What did I learn from that? And then what am I doing next? I don't like to feel like I'm ever defeated in that because there's always more things you can be testing.

STEPHANIE: Oh, for sure, all of our campaigns can always use improvement.


STEPHANIE: Alright. Summer, do you have any final thoughts that you wanna share, or was there anything that we didn't to today during our conversation?

SUMMER: I feel like we covered a ton and I hate to not really have an answer for a question, but I feel like we really did cover quite a bit and and people know how to reach out to us if they have more questions.

STEPHANIE: Well, thank you! To our listeners, thank you so much for joining us for mixers and marketing. If you want to dive deeper into the topic of personalization in marketing campaigns, please feel free to download your complimentary copy of our ebook, The Modern Marketer's Guide to Personalization at lobdemo.co/personalization, that's lobdemo.co/personalization, As always, you can browse our library of episodes over at lobdemo.co/lobcast. Otherwise, thanks for listening, and that's all folks.