Extreme Personalization

Each year, Louisville, Kentucky-based DNR Group sends out more than 10 million pieces of mail for clients such as AOL, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross. But this isn’t your father’s junk mail. Nope, each item is hand addressed and written by a local resident.

Talk about high touch! About 4,500 locals work for DNR as independent contractors, writing personal notes to potential clients and customers. It can take 13-15 hours to complete 500 pieces of mail, and writers can make $300-$600 a month. DNR even charges its clients extra for handwritten mailings. Is it worth it? Instead of the usual 2-4% direct marketing response rate, DNR can net between 8% and 30%. The company’s revenue has increased 75% a year for the last three years and is approaching $10 million. Worth a couple of callouses, I’d say.

Such personalization is rare, but not unheard of. The staff of Play don’t have business cards with the company name printed on them. Cards feature a blank line on which employees write “Play” before exchanging cards with someone. How personalized is your business and its sales and marketing outreach?