Alchemy never disappeared – it only evolved. Around 800 AD, alchemists started honing their processes: investigating each element, making notes, hypothesizing, and ultimately reaching replicable conclusions. Alchemists stopped focusing on the final goal of gold but instead on learning each element’s unique properties and how to capitalize and experiment with them.
Modern marketing has experienced much of the same progression. Only recently have
marketers had access to massive amounts of new tools to measure the influence we make in our decisions, helping us get closer to creating the fabled gold from lead. As measurement tools have become more accurate, marketers are focusing less on trying to turn every possible element into gold via force and more on meticulously learning which elements are more likely to turn into gold, shifting the focus to personalization and engagement. Unfortunately, these new tools are also making it a necessity for marketers to prove and increase incremental returns on investment.
In the quest for higher ROI, many marketers and printers have embraced variable data
printing and experimented with cross media marketing tools like personalized URL’s. For
the unfamiliar, a Personalized URL (PURL) is a website/landing page that is customized/
versioned for a unique recipient and drives them to a specific action like an online
purchase or survey. PURL’s have been a great success for many marketers. But…..what
is success? In the past, marketing tools focused only on the ability of an advertising
campaign to earn. The real benefit of PURL’s isn’t only the ability to earn, but it’s also
the ability to learn. By sending customers to their own personalized pages, a marketer
is then able to engage each target individually and learn specific data about each
recipient. This enables you to market to them more effectively in the future.
As you are preparing your next marketing campaign, focus not only on the
potential earning benefit but also the potential learning benefit. Focus not only on
what message you want to send, but also what message you want to receive. The
question you may want to explore is:
If I only knew ______, I could do ______more effectively.
Focusing also on what you want to learn from a marketing campaign instead of
only earn, you are able to start making the important transition from marketing
alchemist to marketing scientist.