How Your Data Can Make or Break Your Direct Mail Marketing

In this digital world, marketers have access to more data than ever before; which could be great or disastrous. Which has it been for you? We will take a look at some common data problems and ways to avoid them, as well as the great things data can do for your direct mail.

Data mining
“Big_Data_Prob,” Creative Commons license. | Credit: Flickr by KamiPhuc

In this digital world, marketers have access to more data than ever before; which could be great or disastrous. Which has it been for you? We will take a look at some common data problems and ways to avoid them, as well as the great things data can do for your direct mail.

Data issues:

  • Compiled: Sometimes when data is compiled from multiple sources, it can become corrupted or just flat-out wrong. For instance, when compiling data where multiple adults live in the same household, there can be crossover between people. This can come from one person’s buying habits combined with another’s, or one person fills out a survey for another. It is easy to crisscross. How can you mitigate this? Make sure to verify your data sources before you combine them with your in house data. Use only the most well-vetted files.
  • Duplication: Depending on how you wish to dedupe records, you may end up with only one person in the house to send to — who is not the best contact. You want to reach the person most likely to respond to your mail piece. How can you avoid sending to the wrong one? First, run a dedupe — one per person — that way, no one gets two. Then, if you have purchase information or other information that shows you who your targets are, make sure to include that information in a report to look at dupes-per-address. Pulling per address will grab all people in that home in your data. You can then look to the information field to see which records have the key targeting words and keep them while dropping the others.
  • Wrong Address: When people move, they fill out a form with the post office to notify them. Whenever you are sending a mailing, you are required by the USPS to run a form of move update on your file. There are several acceptable ways to do this. One problem that happens is when only one person in a residence moves and the others stay, you can get a false match that others moved, too. Then you end up sending your mail piece to the wrong address. This is frustrating for the person getting the wrong mail piece, as well as to you. The best way to check moves is to verify it with your customers. There are many creative ways to do it.

Are you ready for some data greats?

  • Targeting: Good solid data gives you the opportunity to get very targeted with your direct mail messages. When you know who someone is, what the person likes and what the consumer can’t resist, you have the ability to create a powerful mail piece with a very impressive response rate.
  • Specials: You can use your data to create specials for birthdays or other occasions throughout the year based on information you have collected. The more specific you can get, the more likely you are to get a response.
  • Information: The best part about your data is that it can give you clues about who your best customers are. You can then use that information to find more people like them to send your direct mail to. When you are able to reach the right prospects, your response rates will be much higher.

As you can see, your data can help enhance your direct mail or thwart it — depending on how good it is. You must guard your data from cyber threats, as well as using the three tips above. Your data is your lifeblood in marketing. The more accurate the data you have, the better off you are. So who do you have in charge of your data?

Author: Summer Gould

A blog about Direct Mail Marketing, tips, tricks and what not to do.Summer Gould is President of Eye/Comm Inc. Summer has spent her 27 year career helping clients achieve better marketing results. She has served as a panel speaker for the Association of Marketing Service Providers conferences. She is active in several industry organizations and she is a board member for Printing Industries Association San Diego, as well as a board member for Mailing Systems Management Association of San Diego. You can find her at Eye/Comm Inc’s website: eyecomm.org, email: summer.gould@eyecomm.org, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @sumgould.

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