Personalization at the highest level: Individual product recommendations with 1:1 picture personalization
Advertising measures and marketing activities must offer the customer added value in order to be heard, seen or perceived. Because higher relevance increases the success rate. One way to catch the customer’s eye is personalization. It is hard to imagine marketing without it and we now encounter it almost everywhere. The simplest form is to address the customer personally. In addition, voucher codes, validity periods or entire text modules can also be personalized on print mailings.
However, as customers have already become accustomed to a certain level of personalization, the characteristics of personalization have also evolved. “Go with the flow,” so to speak. And so it’s not surprising that picture personalization is becoming increasingly interesting for cross-channel marketing. In this article, you will learn what is behind the term 1:1 image personalization and how you can use individual product recommendations to make print mailing campaigns even more relevant for your customers in the future.
What is 1:1 picture personalization?
In addition to texts, images can also be personalized on print mailings. You’re probably familiar with this from e-mail marketing. Products are recommended that exactly match the customer’s search and buying behavior, accompanied by a personal offer text or voucher code. The design of the e-mail can also be personalized. This works very similarly in the print mailing sector.
Let’s take a very simple example: You want to implement a reactivation mailing in fashion for existing customers, which should simply be personalized according to gender. What the customer notices first are the images. Of course, you can play out the same pictures to all customers or recommend the same products. In doing so, you will generate less relevance in total and thus have less success. Because while male recipients are more interested in the men’s collection, female recipients are more interested in the women’s collection. So by personalizing not only the texts, but also product and mood images, you maximize the added value of the mailing for your customers.
Why picture personalization pays off
Picture personalization is not only innovative and “nice to have”, it also offers companies real growth potential. You address your customers on a much more personal level while also get to know them better with each mailing. To use picture personalization, you need relevant and well-prepared data. That, in turn, is vital not just for image personalization per se, but for your overall customer relationship management. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that picture personalization brings.
Create individual product worlds
With picture personalized print mailings, you can create entire product worlds that are tailored precisely to your customers. Let’s say you want to recommend your new collection to a loyal group of existing customers and thank them for their loyalty with a personalized voucher. If you know exactly that these customers have been interested in this type of product in the past, then you can use this knowledge to implement a highly personalized and targeted print mailing that also gains a great deal of visual relevance through the use of images. What’s more, picture personalization allows you to take A/B testing to a whole new level to understand your customers even better and further drive your marketing efforts to success. For example, the experiences of our customers who have tested personalized and generic images against each other show that picture personalization has led to a significant uplift.
Although we referred to an example from the fashion sector at the beginning, picture personalization can actually be implemented in a wide variety of industries. The use cases range from reactivation, cross- and upselling, second order pushes to shopping cart abandonment. Picture personalization can be used wherever suitable products can be recommended to existing customers. Nor is it necessarily limited to the B2C sector. Our customer Contorion, Europe’s leading tool supplier for the trade, has very successfully hyper-personalized a print mailing designed to make it easier for customers to reorder products. Download our case study and learn how Contorion efficiently uses customer data and 1:1 picture personalization for customer retention marketing.
Agile, data-driven marketing
Customer relationship management and, consequently, retention marketing depend on the availability of relevant data about customers’ buying behavior and loyalty. The use of picture personalization can therefore mean a real innovative edge for companies. “We see that this form of hyperpersonalization requires a certain maturity in data management, but also in the collaboration between departments, e.g. marketing, CRM and IT,” says Thorsten Hemann, VP Solution Engineering at optilyz. In this respect, companies that already have such maturity can clearly stand out from the competition. But companies that are not yet that far along in their development can only benefit as well. Because the development step towards more personalization acts like a modernization engine for the entire company.
Requirements for successful picture personalization
In addition to image quality, the maturity of your data and the close knowledge transfer between marketing, CRM and IT play a decisive role in planning and implementing picture personalization. Some aspects will highly affect the overall performance of the campaign.
The quality of the images is an important criterion for success in picture personalization. The most important thing is to distinguish between images that will be used digitally and those that will be printed. While digitally played out images only need a resolution of 72 dpi, images for print material must be available in at least 250 dpi, better 300 dpi. Even if a company uses high-quality images in the online store, they may not deliver the necessary quality on the print mailing. This is also due to the different color scales of digital (RGB) and printed (CMYK) images. To stay with the example from the fashion industry: Nothing would be more annoying than if the new collection that you recommend to the customer looks salmon pink on your print mailing and bright orange in the online store.
Maturity level of your data
The successful use of picture personalization is based on the intelligent use of personal and behavioral data. The data must be completely available in a marketing cloud or a customer data platform (CDP for short). In addition, the use of a recommendation engine is also necessary. Companies that already have a certain maturity in their data structure and data management can basically start directly with picture personalization. In doing so, they also create the basis for not only personalizing according to simple clusters such as gender, but also for being able to play out completely individual product recommendations that relate to the customer’s real buying behavior. Where this infrastructure is not yet in place, a few more development steps have to be taken. In this respect, the effort required for the technical implementation of picture personalization depends very much on the maturity of the data structures and preparation.
Ability to abstract
The design of a picture-personalized print mailing, with a high degree of personalization, is more like a blank sheet of paper than a printed self-mailer or letter. For this reason, marketing and CRM departments need abstraction skills in addition to a concrete idea of how the Direct Mail should look visually. In this example, all images printed on the print mailing would be personalized. Wherever images are to be seen later, only empty fields appear at first. These will only be filled with the images during printing. The actual configuration of the campaign is not implemented via a design program, but in the Direct Mail Automation software and the Marketing Cloud. The corresponding data, e.g. recipients, voucher codes, texts and images, are defined and linked there.
1:1 picture personalization offers innovative companies enormous growth potential, as it enables them to establish a very personal connection with their customers. Since the human brain has to process an abundance of stimuli every day, it selects very strongly for what is important and what is not. Images send an additional visual impulse here and thus play a decisive role in personalization, in which texts and images ideally form a unit. How extensive the entry into picture personalization is depends on the individual company. A close exchange between departments as well as knowledge transfer is essential. At optilyz, we actively support this with our experts from Customer Success Management and Solution Engineering.