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ASU research team finds consumers accept personalization in print, web arenas


February 06, 2006

Although they have concerns about privacy, consumers believe that personalization technology such as direct-mail marketing and filling out forms on Web sites is not only expected but is here to stay, according to a research project conducted by two Polytechnic campus assistant professors and two graduate students.

The research team's project "Personalization of Data for Print and e-Commerce" investigated the use and penetration of personalization in the print and Internet industries, and consumer acceptance of that personalization during a five-month period. The initial findings were presented in August 2005 at the International Graphic Arts Education Association's conference at Millersville University in Pennsylvania.

According to the white paper produced by Graphic Information Technology (GIT) assistant professor Dr. La Verne Abe Harris, GIT graduate students Deborah Baney and Brian Davis, and GIT clinical assistant professor Dr. Howard Nelson, personalization is "a way to build customer loyalty and deliver intelligent recommendations to a target audience whether the mode is via print or the Internet." Print personalization can include direct-mail marketing, and Web personalization can include tracking customers' behaviors on Web sites. Both print and Web personalization involve customer-specific content that is based on that customer's implied interests.

"Personalization is growing in use for both the Internet (i.e. Amazon.com), and in variable data printing," Harris says. "Today, print and e-commerce clients are expecting personalization as a part of their marketing strategy. This technology is significant because it gives clients a tool to effectively reach their target market, have that competitive advantage, and build a one-on-one relationship with their customer/user."

When asked about Web personalization, 75% of respondents said they believe it is expected to continue, and 68 percent said print personalization is here to stay as well. Privacy issues raised concern for 31% of respondents on Web personalization and 30% on print personalization.

The study was funded by a $3,000 research grant from the Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF). EDSF is an international charitable foundation dedicated to the document communications industry and helps to foster education, promote research, recognize leaders, encourage innovation and garner and disseminate knowledge about paper, electronic and digital documents.

To read the white paper, visit the EDSF White Paper Web page and click on "Personalization of Data for Print and e-Commerce."