When you begin a direct mail campaign utilizing in-house data, or data at rest, it is critical to consider the integrity of the database. Without regular data hygiene, and data appending where necessary, your mailing list will miss key segmented target marketing opportunities as well as waste valuable marketing dollars. In addition, your campaign will be based upon a foundation that does not give you the full picture of your prospect pool. HOWEVER! There are easy steps to follow to make sure your data is providing you with a full picture of your marketing prospect and customer pool. Following these steps allow you to:
- target sub segments, so you can customize your look and message to each prospect pool piquing their interest and response
- meet postal requirements, so you catch the lowest possible postage rates
- update bad addresses, so you will not waste money on nondeliverable addresses, and not solicit to prospects or customers who may have moved out of your target area
- optimize cross channel marketing, so you can reach your prospects and customers more than once and allow them a choice of how they respond
RECORD LAYOUT – You want to make sure that your record fields are consistent, for example keeping first name, last name, street address, city, state, zip in separate fields. If you are working with a business database for your mailing list, make sure company name and key contact title are in the appropriate fields. This may be something you can have an employee sort out if your database is small. If it is a larger job, there are many companies that can perform this service for you in conjunction with data appending and address updating (NCOA) services.
RECORD QUALITY – Incomplete or incorrect addresses will mean wasted dollars due to undeliverable mail or unforwardable mail. Sometimes the mail may be forwarded, but the individual has moved out of state. If you are a local farmer’s market you would be wasting time and energy soliciting to that individual. National change of address services are available to confirm the accuracy or your mailing list and update addresses where needed.
DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION – More than likely you have collected information on the prospects and customers in your database: when and how they made inquiries, when, how and what they purchased, etc. It may be that your database gives you all of the information you feel you need to segment out your mailing list so you can speak relevantly to each prospect or customer. If not, you can have a wide variety of demographics appended to your database. For consumers, you may want age, income, ethnicity, religious preference, presence of children, children entering college, homeowner or renter, special interests or hobbies, charitable givers, etc. If you are working on a business mailing list, you may want to know yearly sales volume, increases in sales, number of employees, headquarters versus branches, year the business started, etc. All of this information can be appended to your database prospects and customers so you can
- get a full picture of who your customers are, which will serve as a model when acquiring additional mailing lists for prospects
- segment out your mailing list by groupings, for example age and interests, so both the graphics and content in your message will speak more specifically to that group. You may even opt to add other channels such as social media, ad words or email deployment based upon the preferences of each subsegment
Most businesses are aware that quality data results in a more effective mailing list, email deployment, ad word selection and social media marketing campaign, they just do not know where to begin. Again, for whatever you cannot do in-house, there are many companies that can do data hygiene and append for you. Just make sure you utilize a company that updates their data regularly.
We hope you have found this information useful, and best of luck for success!