PERSONAL bests 1005

Postcards Get Foot in Door

Variable data marketing holds great potential, especially for retail business applications that can connect personalized communication with buying patterns. Shoe Carnival ( tapped the technology for a successful traffic generation campaign based on an existing loyalty program. Shoe Carnival is a multi-state discount shoe retail chain with more than 250 stores in the South and Midwest.

[ The Proposed Solution ]

A direct mail campaign was developed targeting members of the chain’s Savings Club, and personalized messages were to be communicated via colorful postcards. The objective was to reconnect with those loyalty club customers who had not visited a Shoe Carnival store in 60 days or more. The mailer reminded members about the benefits of the Savings Club, provided an update on their account status and offered these inactive customers an incentive to make a return visit within a fixed period of time.

The project combined the talents of three specialized organizations. From the retailer side, Shoe Carnival’s marketing, creative, information technology and finance departments were all involved. Group 3 Marketing (, a relationship marketing company, helps clients like Shoe Carnival create customized customer acquisition and retention programs. Group 3 Marketing maintains the database of high-spending customers who have opted into a promotional program called the Savings Club for Shoe Carnival.

Members of the club earn points on their purchases and receive extra bonus points for participating in incentive programs such as shopping on Tuesdays. Group 3 would be responsible for collecting and managing mailer response data for tracking and analysis. MaximumGraphics, a Consolidated Graphics company ( and a high-quality printer with mailing and fulfillment operations, provided document production and related services for the mailer campaign.

[ Variable Data Elements ]

The postcards included a variety of information about each recipient based on data stored in the existing Savings Club database. Variable data elements included the member’s name, Savings Club ID number, mailing information, point balance, date of last visit and the number of points needed to earn the next reward. Also offered was a savings discount that had to be redeemed by a certain date.