- Developing a data-driven communication strategy that works across all channels involves much more than having access to data.
- In today’s world, marketers from businesses of all sizes can create printed and online communications to provide that perfect marketing moment.
- Augmented Reality can be added to a printed piece at any point in the process, even after the print design has been developed.
By Eve Padula
There was a time when personalization simply involved incorporating the recipient’s name in various parts of the communication, but today’s process is much more complex. Thanks to ongoing innovations in customer segmentation and data mining, businesses know more about their customers than ever before. Meanwhile, consumers’ expectations are also shifting—people understand that their providers have access to a great deal of their personal information, and they have come to expect (or even demand) communications that reflect this level of knowledge.
Delivering data-driven communications involves collecting information about how people purchase, and using that information to create more engaging customer communications. Much of our world changed forever in early 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, and consumer purchasing habits have certainly not been immune to these changes. Even as buying behaviors continue to shift, businesses are tasked with creating offers that seem to perfectly meet a customer’s specific needs at just the right time. Creating data-driven communications involves leveraging customer information to develop marketing messages that will truly resonate with the consumer.
Rethinking the Process
Developing a data-driven communication strategy that works across all channels involves much more than having access to data. Ideally, data can be leveraged in such a way that marketers can accurately predict the next item that a consumer might purchase or the next transaction that a consumer might make. Although this scenario is possible, there are two primary challenges:
- Most businesses lack the budget to perform comprehensive customer modeling.
- Legislations that are designed to protect consumer rights are growing all the time.
These obstacles may seem daunting for marketers, but they can be overcome by rethinking the process of delivering data-driven communications. All print service providers must consider the ways that data can be used to influence marketing communications. This involves more than assembling a database of names, addresses, and purchasing information. The best marketing strategies will leverage public data to create a powerful, intense message that makes the most of data-driven communication without violating the consumer’s desire for privacy. The security of personal information is more important than ever with the backdrop of COVID; consumers are hyper-aware of numerous scams that are designed to compromise their security. The pandemic has forced us all to spread out, and most consumers are well aware that cybercriminals are working to exploit this distance and the need for remote communications.
New Strategies for Data-Driven Communications
The newest techniques in data-driven communication rely on the context of the marketing situation, including time of year and the nature of the product or service. Anything from an address to local or seasonal events can be used to create the best, most targeted communication possible.
In today’s world, marketers from businesses of all sizes can create printed and online communications to provide that perfect marketing moment. For example, a print service provider that is helping its clients expand into new areas might consider a direct mail campaign with an e-mail follow-up that leverages a local or culturally relevant event. Creating data-driven communications does not need to involve large amounts of targeted data; you can develop a database from public information and use that information to format customized messages that intrigue recipients and encourage them to engage.
Linking Print and Digital
Another approach to data-driven communications that is gaining traction is linking print to online or app-based enhancements. Many of you probably already know that quick response (QR) codes require upfront knowledge to create a unique 2D barcode. Additionally, while software solutions that design and enhance the QR code experience are becoming increasingly popular, there is an alternative. Augmented Reality (AR) can be added to a printed piece at any point in the process, even after the print design has been developed. Data-driven AR uses a database to trigger unique experiences, and some solutions enable this type of AR experience for clients in a variety of vertical industries.
AR involves identifying a trigger image, which is usually all or part of a page of the print. It could be a logo, a graphic, part of an image, or an entire page. The solution will have a way for that image to be captured and mapped to an asset. In this case, an asset might be a video, game, or other experience that will launch when someone uses the AR application and focuses it on the trigger image. For those who are still unsure about how to make this work, there are countless video tutorials available to walk you through the process.
The Bottom Line
Our world continues to change, and data-driven communications are evolving in kind. Today’s businesses have more tools than ever at their disposal, but any data-driven communications strategy must be well thought out. You’ll want to ensure that you’re meeting data security obligations and complying with the rising tide of data protection laws. The trick is to strike a balance between creating a perfect data-driven marketing moment while still adhering to security compliance issues.
Eve Padula is Senior Consulting Editor for Keypoint Intelligence’s Production Services with a focus on Business Development Strategies, Customer Communications, and Wide Format. She is responsible for creating many types of content, including forecasts, industry analyses, and research/multi-client studies. She also manages the writing, editing, and distribution cycles for many types of deliverables.