Printers purchasing PURL-delivering software, thinking that canned programs will automatically generate higher response rates, misunderstand the nature of PURLs. PURLs are not "1:1 printing in a box" or an alternative to 1:1 printing. They are subset of 1:1 printing, and all of the same rules apply.
One of the fundamental misunderstandings in today's marketplace has to do with PURLs, and it is here that the expertise becomes critical. There have been an increasing number of stories of failed PURL campaigns, and marketers want to know why, and whether or not these campaigns can be trusted.
The failing comes in assuming that PURLs, in themselves, will draw responses simply because they are PURLs. The challenge is reminiscent of the early days of 1:1 printing, when it was assumed that recipients would respond to a 1:1 campaign simply because the text and graphics were database-driven.
In reality, before recipients will even access their PURLs, the pitch must catch their attention. This must be followed by a sufficient incentive for the recipient to log in. This requires all of the clever marketing skills of any 1:1 campaign. As an incentive, "Hi, John. Come find out about our services." (and, yes, 1:1 printers and their customers are sending out campaigns with this pitch) is only incrementally different from that in a static mailer or print advertisement, and it will be about as effective. Yet, too many 1:1 print providers are relying on the PURL itself—not the marketing pitch—to boost response, and then wondering why the campaign tanked.