Personalized Print And Digital Marketing Yield Savings For Agencies, Insurers

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Cutting costs, personalizing communications, saving time and reducing errors sound like answers to the problems a sluggish economy has created for any industry. And one way the insurance and financial services industry may be able to achieve those goals is by using personalized print and digital marketing technology.

Personalization and digital marketing allows you to transform communication materials from a static print run to an individualized campaign, where every page is unique as it contains specific data directed to individual consumers.

Personalization is not a new buzzword, rather it is a concept and solution offering that has been in development over the past several years.

Digital marketing and personalized print have had a tremendous impact in communication between consumer and company, concentrating on developing relationships instead of the traditional method of mass dissemination of information in the hopes it reaches the right place.

The most significant developments in personalization and digital marketing have been in technology within the print industry, allowing creation of highly personalized marketing campaigns, while keeping costs low enough for it to be worth the investment to gain the desired return.

Digital marketing strategy involves using customer or prospect information to develop customized or personalized content that targets the right information at the right time to the individuals who are most likely to respond to it.

More focused, interactive and knowledgeable communication with clients makes better use of marketing budgets and achieves greater results. Utilization of database information and personalized printing has created an avenue to develop these unique pieces. These current technologies are also in compliance with the HIPAA regulations.

The process of migrating current static materials like those addressed to “current resident” into personalized communication pieces that are targeted to an individuals interests, requires the use of consumer data. Consumer data falls into several categories including, demographic, psychographics, geographics, firmographics, job function and purchasing patterns. Much of this information can be extracted from databases currently in place within many organizations, where such information is virtually untapped.

Applications of digital marketing and personalized print are being customized by specialized communications firms to meet the needs of underwriters, agencies, brokerages, TPAs and financial services organizations, ensuring that their specific market needs are met.

Each industry sector has its own needs and objectives, and not all applications are a “one size fits all” solution. By breaking down the basic components of business, however, we can begin to see where there are applications for digital marketing and personalized print. Not all categories will apply to all business models.

The first category that applies to digital marketing is transactional documents. In the insurance and financial services industry, the use of statements, invoices, forms, EOB, EOP checks and policies represents a common denominator.

The second category is marketing or promotional collateral, including: direct mail, pre- and post-sale brochures, and other sales collateral, such as enrollment kits, point of purchase materials, event-related collateral and inserts.

The third areaagain, one that is likely to apply to all insurance and financial services organizationsis business communications. This category includes the basics: presentations, training manuals, letters and memos, and business cards.

The fourth category, publishing, may or may not apply to every section of the industry. Publishing can be books, three-in-one documents, magazines and newspapers.

Product information is the final category, and it includes product marketing, product manuals, packaging, tags and labels.

The power behind digital marketing and personalized print lies in its ability to integrate the information, printing and fulfillment into documents that your organization already has developed, enhancing their value by adding elements of personalization to intelligently target messages and graphics.

An additional advantage to the digital marketing and personalized print is that any application can be developed to include automated distribution using a Web-based interface. A Web-based interface is one way to create a catalog of company collateral and instead of printing large numbers of documents that will have to be warehoused and distributed. The documents can be printed on demand, thus eliminating document obsolescence and decreasing turnaround times.

Printing documents on demand creates the opportunity to pick and choose electronically what goes into the individuals packet of documents. The distribution of documents is not restricted to printthey can also be distributed in electronic form to a variety of channels. This process eliminates the need to handpick and pull documents, thus reducing human error.

While the cost of setting up any new technology can be significant, a successful personalized marketing campaign can pay for itself. Until recently, very few companies had the capability to effectively use this technology, with prohibitive costs for software, programming and lack of experience standing in their way. Now, specialized communications firms have stepped in to close the gaps, providing expertise and training on the software.

Through outsourcing the digital marketing and personalized printing, a company can eliminate the high costs associated with the printing process. This includes costs associated with large traditional print runs, distribution and storage of hundreds of thousands of documents, and document obsolescence.

These facts alone can be the justification that is needed at a corporate level, not to mention the opportunity to increase response rates, leading to more qualified leads and the generation of additional sales.

As the state of the economy continues to struggle and consumers become increasingly savvy, the need to reach consumers in a new and innovative way becomes increasingly important. Digital marketing and personalized printing provides such a way.

For members of the insurance/financial services industry interested in saving time, increasing response rates and targeting their communications to their consumers, the potential of this new digital direction is just beginning to be realized.

is president and COO of The Consolidated Companies, Reno, Nev., which offers specialized print and digital marketing services to the insurance/financial services industry. He can be reached at npedrini@consolidatedco.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, October 31, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.