As a self declared car nut, I probably enjoy (more than most) time spent in and around automobiles. It’s a true passion for me. I love anything to do with cars (reading about them, driving them, admiring them). About 10 years ago, I had an opportunity to own one of my dream machines: a 1983 Porsche 928S. In its time, the 928 was a true supercar. It was one of the fastest street-legal cars on the road in the US; and as some of its harshest critics and biggest advocates alike will agree, so ugly that it was actually beautiful.
I bit. I bought the 928, which needed just a little TLC. For a while, this was my pride and joy. It turned many heads as I drove it around my Northern, New Jersey community. Many onlookers couldn’t tell if it was something new, or a supercar of yesteryear. All they could tell is that it was definitely something fast.
Driving a supercar (new or old) seems to inevitably provoke other drivers to try and race you, or get you to slam on the gas pedal. It’s rather strange, but I guess admirers want to see it in action. In what can only be described as the ultimate smack-down and testament to technological advances, I share with you the story of the day that the old supercar met its match on the highway.
It was about 1 AM on an open stretch of highway near the Meadowlands in North Jersey. I was on my way home from visiting with friends. No traffic, no obstructions on this gorgeous fall evening; just me, my Porsche and the breeze through the open windows and sunroof. Suddenly a humming sound and pair of headlights appear to the rear of me. In a matter of seconds, a car buzzes past me as if I were flooring mine in reverse. “What the heck was that,” I ask myself. “It” pulls over into a gas station ahead, and out of sheer curiosity, I had to pull over to see what that was which put my supercar to shame. It was a Chevy Cavalier. If Chevrolet was ever out to set any records with the Cavalier, I assure you that it was never a speed record. Perhaps fuel efficiency and maybe even class-leading space in the economical small car segment. But this little Cavalier was just that: Cavalier! The owner and I sparked up a chat and I learned that he had enhanced the performance of this little gas-sipper generating horsepower and speed that made my old supercar jealous. It was nothing shorting of embarrassing.
So, what does all this have to do with marketing? After all, I am a marketer too, and that’s what I write about on my blogs. While my supercar may have generated enough horsepower to be the envy of car enthusiasts in its heyday, time marched on and better technology prevailed. That technology was able to deliver even better results and enhance the best of yesteryear. The same goes for marketing (specifically direct mail production equipment).
Today’s most successful marketers understand that the key to any successful marketing campaign is data. You literally cannot get enough of it. The more data, the better. It’s almost as if we (marketers) cannot learn enough about our prospects and customers. So, what can we do with all this data? Well, some of the most common uses for this data that marketer’s have grown to love (and cannot live without), is segmentation, analytics, targeting and modeling.
Sophisticated marketers and mailers are now using data to help them understand WHO they should be communicating with, WHAT they should be communicating to their targets about and WHEN they should be communicating (frequency). The result of all this data has actually led to higher relevancy for direct marketing to consumers, and this ultimately leads to happier consumers, sales growth, and increases in marketing ROI.
Much like my engine that could, better technology prevailed. So is the case in direct mail production. All the data collection, segmentation, analysis and modeling will only get you so far in your marketing efforts. Pairing that information with state-of-the-art production equipment is where you land the synergy to drive unprecedented growth and results.
At a recent DRUPA trade-show, SourceLink’s digital imaging partner, Océ, demonstrated ways to help clients grow with the use of digital printing technology. The flexibility and versatility of digital printing equipment today can literally turbo-charge your marketing efforts, enabling you to do even more sophisticated segmentation, targeting and testing with far less waste than production methods of yesteryear. Don’t let the limitations of production equipment and methods hold you back from achieving unprecedented marketing results. If you are a marketer that values data, I encourage you to research digital printing capabilities and learn how production technology is pushing the envelope even further (no pun intended). Here’s a great place to start.
For the record, I no longer have that 928. I sold it after being sideswiped by a minivan at an intersection. Fortunately the driver of the minivan stopped, because I can’t think of anything more embarrassing than trying to catch a fleeing minivan (and failing to keep up).