Earning and maintaining customer loyalty is an ongoing process for loyalty marketers. For Xeikon, a longstanding leader and innovator in digital printing technology, that task is the same as it is for any other type of marketer.

Loyalty360 talked to Donna Covannon, Director, Marketing NA, Digital Solutions, Xeikon, about how her company approaches customer engagement/customer loyalty.
 
Forming emotional connections with customers is the Holy Grail for loyalty marketers today. How does a print provider go about forging these emotional connections?
Covannon: Print providers have the tools to work with brand owners or creative agencies to marry up the data with the direct marketing piece. Digital print providers have the tools that enable personalized, customized, targeted communications. With digital printing, small audiences’ materials that are uniquely personalized are possible. The opportunities exist for the creative agency to understand the capabilities of the print provider so they can join forces to create powerful, unique, personalized direct marketing materials.
 
How can brand owners manage effective direct mail campaigns?
Covannon: What makes some direct mail campaigns more successful than others? The answer is simple: they establish an emotional connection with the consumer. A successful campaign manages to arouse their curiosity, make them laugh, touch their hearts and, in some cases, even makes them feel a little anxious. It is not static data that is going to attract the buyer, but unique pieces that tell a relevant story delivered in a unique, yet affordable package.
 
What should brand owners be aware of about the services of a print provider that enables them to be more targeted to raise the value of their offering?
Covannon: More and more brand owners work with print providers or agencies who understand the power that digital printing solutions bring to their products. It could be on packaging, labels, messaging that adds value to the product.

For example, after thorough research and development, Belgian label specialist Label’Or, now digitally produces the high quality, wash off labels for all Val-Dieu beer bottles, a unique solution in the beer industry. Alain Pinckaers, Director of Val-Dieu Brewery, explains: “To keep up with the growing demand for our beers, we needed to change our production process. As part of this, we decided to change the labels on our bottles. Where before we used wet-glue labels, we now switched to self-adhesive labels. As the bottles are washed and re-used, it was vital that the labels are easily removed. We worked closed with Label’Or who helped us find a solution and choose a suitable machine removable label.”
 
There is so much talk today in the loyalty industry about personalization and targeted messaging. What are brands doing well in this regard and where do the challenges lie?
Covannon: Brands are excelling in collecting data, which thereby gives them the opportunity to target messaging based on buying patterns and preferences. They are also doing a great job of universally promoting their product or services via email blasts or even print advertising that is one message for all. The challenges lie in using all the tools at their disposal to merge the power of the data with the power of their messages to align buyers to their products and services. Even starting out simple is enough to start getting pointed results from a targeted, customized, personalized campaign. Think about receiving material yourself, if it speaks to you personally, not just in name recognition, but also by pointing the consumer to something meaningful for them, then more valued results are generated.
 
How do brands balance a mix of relevant, targeted emails against too much communication that could have a negative effect on engagement and retention?
Covannon: The idea is quality, not quantity. Using the data captured allows more quality communications—communications that speak directly to the purchaser. Our human condition innately picks up what is familiar, what speaks to us. Why not harness that in targeted communications?

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