Businesses today must adopt innovative strategies for making sure their marketing materials grab the attention of potential customers. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do that. The proliferation of digital devices, rapid acceleration of the Internet of Things and increasing reliance on the Web have made the market more crowded and forced marketers to reassess their approaches to reaching audiences.

One strategy that has emerged as an effective tool, and one that shouldn't be overlooked by any organization, is personalized content. Whether engaging with paper ads, emails or another type of communication, consumers have grown to expect a certain level of customization.

Relevance is key in promotional content
In an article for What They Think, Barb Pellow recently highlighted some of the ways in which personalization plays an important role in the world of printing, especially when it comes to direct mail. For example, according to an InfoTrends survey, when businesses take the time to tailor content specifically to a particular consumer and ensure that it is a relevant offer, the recipient is more likely to actually open and read it.

And there were certain paper items that increased their interest in and engagement with the piece, such as coupons or discounts on products they had purchased in the past. In addition, the source also revealed that consumers preferred to see images that portrayed something they are interested in.

These findings underscore the value in businesses taking the time and leveraging the resources to personalize printed marketing materials. However, the positive response customers have to direct mail and relevant content is not the only reason why marketers should utilize this approach.

Printed ads lack personalization
Although the use of targeted content is well-known throughout many industries, there seems to be a disconnect in companies adopting the method, at least when it comes to paper-based materials.

According to Pellow, the survey also indicated that there is an enormous opportunity for businesses to create customized, printed communications because it is a strategy that not many organizations are taking advantage of. In fact, only 27 percent of participants said that they receive direct mail personalized in a way that would make it more enticing or engaging for them.

A research report published by Forrester Consulting pointed out that even though most marketers recognize the value of customized marketing, just 16 percent "currently have the capability to capture customer intent and deliver real-time, behavior-based marketing across all channels."

And it is probable that a large portion of businesses today are prioritizing digital platforms over traditional, direct ones. The source also pointed out that, to enhance personalization, companies must be able to leverage an integrative system of customer data. Most, however, currently have siloed databases. This fragmented framework makes it even more challenging for marketers to access the information and insight needed to effectively personalize content.

Partners and solutions
Clearly there is an opportunity for companies today to improve their communications and marketing strategies. By driving more printed ads and direct mail campaigns, businesses can reap the benefits of an overlooked and a less competitive channel. And it is advantageous for companies to tailor the content in a way that the target audience is most likely to respond to. There is a very small time frame to entice a potential customer; marketers shouldn't neglect the critical importance of making sure each distributed message is one the recipient will find relevant.

To further strengthen the marketing goals and strategy of an organization, marketers should also work with a printing solutions provider that makes quick, on-demand ordering and possible and streamlines workflow production.