How Big Data Will Revive Your Print Marketing in 2014

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Andrew Field
Andrew Field



print marketing_fieldIf you’ve ever received an email from Amazon mentioning a sale on an item you’ve recently viewed, you have been the recipient of the company’s efforts to harness the power of big data.

Big data can produce an unmatched degree of insight, allowing you to understand customer attitudes, desires and decisions. However, big data isn’t limited to just the digital sphere. By investing in the right tools to handle this data, companies can develop customized print campaigns targeted to a single customer.

Applying Big Data and Analytics to Print Marketing

Marketers have been inundated with information on big data as it relates to digital marketing, but print can produce a stronger reaction. A physical mailer has a longer lifespan than digital, and it’s not impervious to being deleted or missed. The high-impact nature of print appeals to the senses in ways email can’t.

By analyzing the data, you can create campaigns that focus on:


Personalization has been a digital-only advantage because creating and printing personalized marketing materials for each customer is daunting and costly. Introduce variable data printing, and the landscape changes. Marketers can now send out print mailers targeted to specific purchase behaviors and personalized down to the image, color, artwork, and even text.

By opting into an annual membership, REI can track and infer insights from your purchase history, credit card preference, geographic location, marital status and athletic endeavors. It can then deliver unique and relevant content, such as bike repair messages to cyclists or waxing services to skiers and snowboarders.

Relevant Content

Timing is everything, right? Big data provides useful insights into customer behavior, which marketers can use to identify the precise moment to deliver content, thus increasing the probability of conversion.

Target is one retailer that looks for behaviors to identify a need, sometimes even before a customer realizes it. For instance, when a customer completes a bridal or baby registry, it queues predictors in a wedding or pregnancy timeline, triggering offers and content that can seem eerily well-timed.


Big data uses geographical location information to target customers in the most logical proximity to their business, thus increasing effectiveness.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals successfully executes this practice by showing animals that are available for adoption just miles from a prospective adopter’s home. Pictures, bios and directions to the local shelter not only tug on the heartstrings, but they also drive action because of the person’s close proximity to his future furry friend.


Separating yourself is essential. Highlight products, offers, events or aspects of service that differentiate you from the competition. Big data can also let you know when customers are most persuadable. ProFlowers captures important dates from customers and sends offers and messages to remind them when birthdays and anniversaries are coming up. It can also assist on the backend by monitoring inventory levels, SKU productivity and offer performance.


Repeat customers are brands’ greatest assets, so making them feel valued should be a top priority. Big data allows you to isolate these customers and dig even deeper into their behaviors. Think about individualized offers, invitations to private events or a sneak peek of new merchandise. Make them feel special and appreciated, and they’ll keep coming back.

Improve ROI through a Data-Driven Approach

Taking the data-driven approach can give your tactile marketing a serious edge. Put these tips to use to create meaningful campaigns that are designed with the customer’s unique needs in mind. Provide your audience with a sensory experience an inbox can never replicate.

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