By Harvey Hirsch February 9, 2004 -- During a trip to Asia a few years ago, I read an article about a stockbroker who wanted to get a particular businessman as his account. Every morning he positioned himself out side of the executive's home and as the man's car passed him, he bowed. This went on for several weeks until one day, the executive stopped, opened his window and asked what the broker wanted. At that moment, the broker handed him his card and the executive drove off. Again, each morning for another few weeks the broker reported to his spot outside the executive's home and bowed each time the man drove by. One day, while the broker was sitting at his desk, a call came in from the executive and a meeting was scheduled. Patience, perseverance and most of all, commitment helped this broker grow to be one of Japan's largest investment brokerage houses. This is a prime example of 1:1 marketing at its best. It's personal, it's attention getting, and it's directed specifically to address a particular individual's needs. Currently, the state-of-the-art marketing communication for new business development is still "saturation mail." Printing several thousand of "one message fits all," then applying a mailing label or black ink jet personalization on the front, then bulk mailing it to save a few pennies. The focus is on the cost per piece, not the cost per sale. This impersonal approach is comparable to a guy going to a single's bar and winking at all the women in hopes of landing a date. It is also the most expensive because it generates the national average response of a mere .005%. Translated into dollars, that works out to almost $600.00 to generate a prospect, not a sale. To improve your response rates and sales cycles, you have to set yourself apart from every other printer. One way of doing this that's proven very effective is by using digitally printed, personalized mailers that cut through the clutter of direct mail that we are all deluged with. In fact, everything you send out should be so personalized that the receiver wants to use that product for their company. It's a form of "Show and Sell." Remember, every company needs new business development products, and in today's competitive arena, they must stand out and generate a positive response in the receiver or they won't come back for more. There are many small footprint digital systems now available from many manufacturers that come with color RIPs that allow for on-demand personalization. These low-cost alternatives will allow you to position your print shop apart from the offset only shops while giving you a competitive edge in solving yours, and your clients' marketing communications problems. Remember, it's not just business, it's personal!