If you maintain a strong contacts database, consider customizing your next design project with variable data to add a personal touch to your message. Your recipients encounter roughly 3,000 media messages a day and only a few are remembered. "Dear Client" at the top of your promotional mailer just doesn't cut it anymore. Our long-time client The Bishop's School keeps in touch with its alumni and donors, and as a result they have been able to maintain a strong database. Recently we put that strength to use by incorporating a little variable data in their alumni donor campaign. We're excited to see the results and hope to build even more personalization into future mailings using PURL marketing (integration of personalization, direct mail, and the internet) to further increase response rates.

If your business caters to multiple audiences, consider creating targeted versions of your marketing piece. For example, the Eating Disorder Center of Fresno needed two letterheads, one for professional or more "serious" communications and faxing and a second letterhead reserved for patient communications that needed to be friendlier and more inviting. So rather than trying to merge your audience into one, consider a more direct approach. You just might get the positive results you are looking for.