Personalised Direct Mail – 7 Fantastic Case Studies

Personalised Direct Mail is more than just ‘Dear John’ letters!

personalised-direct-mail-HBD-opticians-JaneWe all know about the simplest kind of personalisation.

Hi [firstname]!

or if you’re feeling a little more formal:

‘Dear [firstname]’

The theory is that this improves results – and it probably does. But does it get the best results possible?

If you’re making the effort to personalise, why not do a really good job of it?  Personalisation based on location. Demographics. Past history.

Here’s some real life examples of personalised direct mail which works. Hoping they give you inspiration.

Personalised Images in Direct Mail

Case Study 1. Emma Bridgewater improve direct marketing ROI by 25%.

One of the items they sell is personalised cups. Why not demonstrate that in their marketing?

If your name’s Kirsty, your image has a cup with the name Kirsty on it. If your name’s Pete, the cup says Pete.


There’s some other clever things about the way they ran this campaign too.

  • Testing. Personalising images is relatively complex and adds some cost. Before committing for the entire catalogue print run of 25,000, they ran a postcard trial. And checked results for all segments of their database.
  • Even when they went ahead with personalising the catalogue, they limited the personalisation to the four page cover. No changes were made to the inner pages, so overall costs were controlled.

You can read the full Emma Bridgewater case study here.

Case Study 2. Porsche used personalised postcards to get an incredible 32% response.

A Toronto Porsche dealer targeted specific affluent neighbourhoods. The campaign involved taking individual photographs of a Porsche in the driveway of each target home, then printing those on postcards.

Of course, it was an expensive campaign. Imagine the time and manpower invested in going around and photographing the Porsche in each and every target driveway!

But you don’t need to sell many Porsches to cover your costs.

Use personalised location data and maps in your direct mail

Case Study 3. Liberty Bank’s new residents campaign is delivering revenues 9 times its cost.

personalised-direct-mail-liberty-bank-mapIt’s a really simple concept. Someone moves into an area you service.

You send them a mail piece introducing yourself. You explain why you’re better than the big corporates. And you show them how close and convenient you are.

Kevin Tynan of Liberty Bank explains the campaign in more detail here.

For Liberty Bank, it was new people moving into their neighbourhood. But that’s not the only time maps can be useful.

Case Study 4. A 24% response rate filled seats at a new restaurant location

personalised-direct-mail-mcnelliesFor McNellie’s restaurant chain, it was the company expanding. They opened a new restaurant in a busy area, but weren’t getting the custom they wanted. Local newspaper advertising didn’t work. So they turned to direct mail.

What made the mail work?

  • Geographic targeting. They wanted people who were close. Who would come once and then return.
  • Demographic targeting. They knew from their other restaurants what their core demographics were.
  • An incentive to try the restaurant. That was a $10 voucher – with a 2 month expiry term to create urgency.
  • A personalised map for each recipient. So they knew exactly how to get to McNellies from their home.

Read the complete case study here.

Use personalised gifts, samples and direct mail pieces

Perhaps the most common example of this is the promotional pen. If you run a business, you’ve almost certainly received at least one pen branded with your company details, along with a proposal to order more.

The idea has also been adopted by charities for fundraising. A gift of personalised stationery (writing paper with ‘from’ labels or a pen with your name on) is relatively cheap to produce. It turns the direct mail from a begging letter to a gift, and creates a sense of obligation. So response rates are much higher.

To create more impact, you might want to consider something more unusual than pens and stationery. And something related to your business is even better.

Case Study 5. Universal Graphics achieved more than double their target business

personalised-direct-mail-universal-graphics-truckUniversal Graphics is an Irish company specialising in vehicle branding, large-format printing and signage. They wanted to develop their vehicle branding business.

They sent collectable trucks with bespoke branding to carefully selected fleet managers. And the results were fantastic.

Over 25% of recipient companies requested quotations.

More than 10% signed contracts for fleet signage.

Of course, this example had a highly relevant gift in the direct mail piece. And for some products and services, it’s hard to come up with a good gift. So you could resort to pens, but make them really special. How about this idea?

Case Study 6. Making a personalised gift relevant for an intangible offer.

personalised-direct-mail-friends-first-penIrish financial services company Friends First wanted to develop their broker network. It’s hard to think of a gift which relates directly to a broker network. So they focused instead on the concept of ‘signing up’ and the signature. Here’s how they used a 2-stage personalised direct mail campaign to contact and engage with brokers.

The first mailing created mystery and anticipation. It promised something impressive – in exchange for a signature. But it didn’t say what.

The second mailing included a high-quality metal pen in a luxury box. Custom-etched not with the prospect’s name, but with their signature. It also included the offer – a brochure with all the details of the Friends-First partnership. Nearly half of all Friends First brokers came from this campaign.

Here’s another thing to notice about the campaign. The expensive personalised pen is only sent to those who have shown some interest. So costs are controlled.

Integrate digital and use the power of pURLs to for cost-effective personalisation

Case Study 7. London Opticians achieve a 500% ROI on a postcard and PURL campaign

Hodd Barnes and Dickins (HBD) are based in the City of London. Clients are mostly those who work close by – and if they change their job, they may not come back. So HBD wanted to reactivate lapsed customers.

HBD had some basic information on these customers, so was able to segment by age and gender. Creative was tailored to each segment. (Not personalisation in the strictest sense, but definitely making the mail more relevant.)

  • Postcard imagery showed a headshot of the same gender and age group as the recipient.
  • Headlines and messaging were also tailored. Messaging for over 40s centred on eye care and service. Messaging for under 40s centred on style and looks.

First names were also used in the headlines for full personalisation.

And each card had a pURL (personalised url) printed across the bottom as its response mechanism. (The incentive to respond was a £50 voucher.)

People who logged onto the site (8.26% of all recipients responded) got a personalised site too. Their name. Relevant imagery. A short survey. A chance to check and update contact details. And the voucher, emailed to them.

Plus, HBD staff received emails for every voucher claimed, so they could call and book appointments promptly.

With this level of personalisation and response, the campaign was a real winner. Immediate ROI was 500%, and that’s expected to increase with repeat visits.

Read a longer version of this case study here.


What personalisation will you use in your next campaign?

If you need ideas or advice on what’s practical, or how to make it practical, let’s talk!