As marketers, we know that personalizing your print and email communications works. But how well? Metrics from personalized campaigns range from single digits to nearly 100%. It’s always tempting to compare your campaigns to others, especially those in published articles or case studies. However, you can’t necessarily tell the success or profitability of a campaign by the top-line numbers alone. The most important metric is the overall return on investment (ROI).

Why is that? Let’s look at five variables associated with response rates and how they can impact results.

  1. Who’s your audience?If you send your mail piece to everyone on your list, you will receive a lower response rate than if you send to your best customers or a carefully selected demographic sub-set.
  2. What’s your goal?Are you trying to get someone to sign up for a free newsletter or buy a $50,000 car? Some offers naturally get higher response rates than others.
  3. What is the incentive?For its high-value products, one marketer regularly generates 21% to 75% response rates based on offering high-value rewards like remote control cars or sets of personalized golf clubs. But not all incentives will generate the same results.
  4. Cost of the product?You will get more responses to offers for products under $50 than for high-value products and services like family vacations and financial services.
  5. Are you regional or national?Sometimes regional marketers have a better chance at grabbing recipients’ attention just because they have a local connection. Known brands versus unknown brands makes a difference, as well.

So don’t compare yourself to others. Many variables can affect response rates. Your metrics will be unique to you, and in the end, your ROI is the only number that counts!