Targeted, timely inserts drive conversions
By Mercedes Cardona
Insert marketers taking a data-driven approach can drive conversions by more precisely targeting customers
based on their individual profiles and
“[A message] must be targeted, it
must be relevant, and it must be timely to the customer.... Selling a car seat
to someone isn’t useful if the kid is
turning 13,” says Grant Miller, VP of
global strategic product management
and North American sales in Pitney
Bowes’ Docu-ment Messaging Technologies unit, whose solutions combine printing and analytics to offer
Health insurance provider Humana
uses data from clinics, pharmacies,
and its marketing department to serve
more relevant offers to 4 million customers. Health plan members receive
offers and information depending on
the patient’s condition within the company’s explanation of benefits (EOB),
a program called Smart EOB.
These messages might include personalized drug recall and interaction
information, an offer on a blood-sugar
monitor to diabetes patients, or enrollment offers for programs dedicated
to parents of newborns, says Jennifer
Danner, process manager at Humana.
Danner did not reveal response data,
but says the three-year-old Smart EOB
program has been successful as com-
Inc., which specializes in direct marketing and inserts.
“If [customers] go [online], you are
not sure who’s the original source of
the inquiry. That’s currently a bit of
a problem,” he says. “You have a lot
of people who want to use [inserts] to
drive traffic to the website and then
you can’t tell where it came from.”
Wordekemper notes that QR codes or
coupon-based offers can alleviate this
More recently, companies have transitioned to linking inserts to loyalty efforts such as Bank of America’s
BankAmeriDeals, which uses a solution from Cardlytics to serve targeted
offers, based on purchase history, to
cardholders within online statements.
Customers save these offers to their
account and redeem them after using
the card to pay.
Tara Burke, SVP of marketing and
communications at Bank of America,
says the program will expand to mobile
statements, but adds statement inserts
will continue to play an important role
in communicating with customers.
The response rates for targeted
efforts are significantly greater than
those of untargeted inserts. Wordekemper says he’s seen the “right offer”
double response rates. And Cardlytics
estimates a 20% click-through rate on
targeted offers, of which 20% lead to
conversions, says Rod Witmond, the
company’s SVP of marketing and consumer experience. ■
pared to industry averages. Members
have a strong preference for it over the
traditional statement, Danner adds.
Managing data at a large scale is the
main challenge in targeting inserts.
Another concern is the “freak
factor”–an offer so dead-on targeted
to individual consumers that it makes
them afraid for their privacy, says
Glen Wordekemper, VP of global
product management at payment
processor First Data. Given these concerns, Miller emphasizes that transaction data is used anonymously.
Over the past decade, inserts have
been designed to drive online traffic,
which creates attribution issues, notes
Leon Henry, CEO of Leon Henry
Bank of America
offers based on
Marc Ginsberg, EVP of merchant services, Cardlytics
on leveraging targeted data for greater impact
Marc Ginsberg of Cardlytics identifies four data types marketers use
for the most impact: lifestyle, product, transaction, and social data.
Movers lists, real-estate listings, college lists, or lists of new parents,
among others, allow marketers to identify customers making life-
style changes. Sophisticated retail systems allow marketers access to
detailed product purchase data. Currently, connecting transactions
to shopper demographics produces even more incisive datasets, says
Ginsberg. “I know that you’re a new mom, you just bought a house,
and you shop at Home Depot, but you don’t buy paint at Home De-
pot. So now I can give you offers to buy paint at Home Depot,” he ex-
plains. Adding social network interactions and influence can improve
data, but marketers are still figuring out how to use it, Ginsberg says.