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This time, it’s personal

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Personalization is the common thread in several announcements being made Monday by direct marketers attending the annual DMA07 industry bash hosted by the Direct Marketing Association in Chicago this week.

Alterian Inc., an enterprise marketing platform provider, announced it has officially launched Contact Optimizer, an application the company said goes beyond traditional segment-based selection techniques to help marketers make decisions at the individual level. Contact Optimizer is linked to analytics applications and campaign management platforms, and enables marketers to decide which offer should be sent through which channels to which customers.

The product was borne of necessity, Alterian said. As marketers create campaigns for an ever-increasing array of channels, the need to manage those well and be able to continue to market successfully increases.

“Using Excel to manage your direct marketing campaigns just doesn’t work anymore,” said Joe Stanhope, director of global product marketing for Alterian. “You have so many campaigns going out. It’s not a monthly or a weekly campaign anymore. It’s a couple of campaigns a day.”

Contact Optimizer automates the process of targeting specific individuals, but it also does so within the context of what Stanhope called “real business constraints” that marketers need to deal with in the real world, such as only printing a certain number of catalogs or limiting how many e-mails are sent.

“There’s been a lot of lip service to one to one and personalization in the past,” Stanhope said. “I think finally people are reaching a pain point where they are actually having to do it. The number of channels we’re reaching out to and the sheer velocity and overlap of those channels is impossible to manage manually anymore. From our perspective, you need help with that.”

Alterian also announced that it has launched a Web-based list product, dubbed List Direct, that provides list managers with a tool for managing, selecting and procuring data online.

Another company focused on personalization and behavior is ThinkingCraft, which will on Monday introduce Neurographix, described by the company as the study of how individuals give, receive and process information. The technology company said that information, combined with demographics and psychographics, will give marketers the ability to identify their market and better personalize marketing materials to line up with the way each individual’s brain receives information.

Acxiom recently acquired a company called EchoTarget, a provider of customized targeting solutions for online advertisers and publishers, which Acxiom said extends its personalization capabilities across digital channels that already include e-mail and search.

Other companies promoting these services at the show include digital printing providers that offer personalized digital printing technologies and services to direct marketers, such as Eastman Kodak Co., InfoPrint Solutions Co. and Xerox Corp.

Direct marketers that are taking advantage of personalized digital printing include Direct Group, which announced it has acquired two new Canon digital presses in order to support personalized campaigns for its clients.

A key feature of the new equipment is the ability to more affordably and efficiently produce highly personalized, variable print-on-demand marketing pieces through a sophisticated digital asset management system, according to Direct Group.

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