Broker Roundtable: How important are PURLs becoming as a data source?

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

Welcome to Broker Roundtable, where each week we ask list brokers to give their opinions on issues that matter to the marketing community. This week's question: How important are personal URLs (PURLs) becoming as a source for gathering data on customers and prospects?

Our current panel includes Price Anderson of DirectMail.com, Patricia Leone of Leon Henry Inc., Michael Peterman of Veradata and Michele Volpe of Media Source Solutions. Would you like to be considered to be a member of our roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs at (larry.riggs@penton.com.)

Price Anderson, vice president, sales and marketing, DirectMail.com:
PURLS are critical to the customer engagement process, allowing marketers to capture additional data on prospects and customers that will help shape future communications. Conversely, consumers like PURLS because of the speed at which they can access information. Due to the bidirectional benefits, PURLS are quickly becoming a standard response vehicle in many direct mail campaigns. In addition, respondents are likely to provide more data via a personal URL than traditional response methods. In one example, more than 80% of respondents provided telephone numbers in addition to providing answers to a short survey.

Patricia Leone, senior account executive, Leon Henry Inc.:
PURLs which are customized to each direct mail recipient, are an extremely valuable source for gathering customers and prospects. They capture the recipients’ attention and engage them in a dialogue that is unique to them. Since an ever-increasing number of direct mail respondents prefer to respond online, PURLs facilitate the interaction between the customer and the merchant.

Michael Peterman, CEO, Veradata:
Personal URL’s are a means to enhance performance of other advertising methods. They provide instant feedback and the ability to provide a subsequent offer that is targeted to an audience of one. The novelty associated with a PURL is still there, recipients are often intrigued. To date, the vast majority of their use has been to personalize offers, prompt response to direct mail and e-mail—then, secondarily to capture additional information on the consumer. In the business-to-business space, the use of PURL’s as a data capturing mechanism is accelerating at a faster pace. Businesses seem more forthcoming with “personal” information being shared through this medium. I do think that PURLs, at some point, will become standard practice for both business-to-consumer and B-to-B marketers. As a matter of evolving personalization technology (coupled with evolving legislation and user security), it seems only logical that this method of promoting business and collecting information will grow. I expect to see more sophistication, more cross media usage, QR codes, embedded personalized video and so forth in the near future.

Michele Volpe, vice president of sales and marketing, Media Source Solutions:
I believe that PURLs are becoming one of the most effective, powerful marketing tools that have recently emerged. In fact, I believe they now represent the future of marketing. Everyone loves to see their name in print. PURLs actually lead people to a website that has been created just for them. This is how PURL’s are raising the bar on how to personally engage with your customer or prospect. PURLs also help to increase response rates, allow the advertiser to capture valuable information about their customer/prospect, better manage their customer relationship, provide verified, real-time leads to their sales teams, qualify/quantify campaign responses in real-time and generate automated responses to their leads. As we all know, successful marketing is all about communicating at the right time and the right place. This new medium is being used in a variety of ways to customize the way the method of communication is sent to the person – text, videos, or audio. I know I like having a message sent to me in the way I prefer being communicated with most. I’m also more likely to respond to it. So as you can gather from my comments here, I’m pro-PURL’s!

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