An illustration of why mail merges are not personalization

The other day my spouse got a letter reminding her about her annual vision examination.

Dear SPOUSE,

This is a friendly reminder to schedule your annual comprehensive vision examination. Our records indicate your last examination was at least one year ago.

[…news about the company…]

Dr. Vision

The letter was a nice reminder but as far as personalization goes, it was very weak.

Other than the letterhead and salutation, none of it was personalized.

It felt like a formal way of saying "Hey, you should get a vision exam done soon. K thanks, bye".

With the right customer data, this could be so much better. For example, they already know the last time my spouse was there so they could use the actual last visit date:

This is a friendly reminder to schedule your annual comprehensive vision examination. You were last in was 2015-01-01 which means you’re overdue for an annual eye exam.

The "overdue" wording then sets them up for a stronger sales message.

Having your eyes examined on a regular basis can detect and prevent dangerous conditions from occurring, such as blindness. An annual exam will detect any problems even if you don’t have any symptoms.

It’s been over two years since your last exam so you’re at risk of […]

(This "proof" taken from just 4 minutes searching. An actual doctor could probably write an entire essay on the dangers and risks).

If they had some better data on how long common vision problems develop in, their letter could easily bring that and give a stronger, more urgent message.

Last visit was 13 months ago? You should come back.

Last visit was 24 month ago? You’re probably suffering from misadjusted eye-wear and at risk of A and B.

Last visit was 10 years ago? You do know that you’re supposed to be able to see out of both eyes, right?

This sort of personalization is easy with the right data, called recency. If you use it in your campaigns you can have a significant boost to your response rate.

Using Shopify and Customer Segmenter this recency data is right at your fingertips.

Eric Davis

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