Direct Mail- PURLs of Wisdom

Last Sunday we finally witnessed the Bears win with a well executed Orton two minute drill against the Falcons, only to see them lose in the last 11 seconds of the game… only in Chicago.

Variable Data

But enough dwelling on the sad state of sports in the Windy City; it’s time to get down to business. Last week we chatted a little bit about traditional direct mail and running a matrix to test multiple components. Now there is a way to make the process even easier and more specific– and get better returns. This can be done thanks for the advent of variable data printing. What this means is that I can run multiple campaign at the same time without worrying about how my jobs fit on press. Variable data printing doesn’t need to run on a traditional press; it runs on a digital press that doesn’t involve plates or film. Basically, I can run as many tests as I want on any given press run as long as I define the relationships appropriately. Using the breakdowns from our previous matrix, I can define Offer 1, 2, and 3 with my artwork and actually make it more specific by relating it to my demographics as well. This means I can send a different Offer 1 to folks out west than the offer I am sending the folks down south, and a different Offer 2 to mothers than the one I am sending teens… and even including their name and other personal info within the piece. This leaves me with a matrix testing 64 variable versus 16– pretty darn good considering the cost really doesn’t go up. And this also takes the Seth Godin approach that messages that are more personal and relevant will increase conversion.

Using PURL’s
OK, so what next? How about purls? Check out one great example I received just this week (see above). Like variable data printing, PURLs (or personalized urls) give marketing a more tailored feel. Paula Andruss’s article,”Personalized URLs” in September’s Marketing News Magazine, delves into this a bit. PURLs allow a targeted individual or company to be directed to their own unique page. (In the example above, my site is This makes for a personalized experience and engages in ways other marketing techniques cannot– and it can display information pertinent to their interests and lifestyle. And according to the article, PURLs are gaining ground because overall, consumers prefer to respond online, rather than making a phone call or going into a store. The use of PURLs can then track consumer behavior, which allows companies to modify their own behavior based on trends. And this approach works for the B2B realm as well; businesses can see who is using their PURLs and where they are spending most of their time on their site.

So, in a nutshell, PURLs are pretty cool. The only concern might be with those who are fearful of their information being stored online. This fear does not apply to most businesses, and as for consumers, a pass code can be applied in order for them to access the site any further than the landing page. This way everyone wins, and companies are able to access information like never before. Wow, how’s that for accountability?

My thought for the day: Use the variable data printing and PURLs together, and you have a pretty darn good formula for a good mailing– and better mailings to come!

One Response to “Direct Mail- PURLs of Wisdom”

  1. kimberly says:

    This is a great post. I have heard of using personalized marketing, but it was nice to see an example alongside an explanation. And I’m sorry all Chicago teams are hurtin’… GO COLTS!

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