Your data is the backbone of your direct mail. You not only need correct mail addresses, but you also need to know purchase history, demographics, and anything else that will help you target your customers with offers they want. Marketers today 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. Because let’s face it: Data is a double-edged sword.
3 Common Data Issues
1. 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. Each of them has potential issues with how quickly the data is collected, posted, and available to mailers. The other issue is when consumers do not notify the post office that they moved so there is no new address on file.
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 when 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.
Depending on how you wish to dedupe records you may end up with only one person in the house to send to, and that person may not be the best contact. You want to reach the person most likely to respond to your mail piece.
How can you avoid this? 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, so you can keep them while dropping the others.
3 Smart Ways to Use Data
Good solid data gives you the opportunity to get very targeted with your direct mail messages. When you know who someone is, what they like, and what they can’t resist, you have the ability to create a powerful mail piece with a very impressive response rate.
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.
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.
So who do you have in charge of your data? Make sure you have a person who is responsible for it. As you can see, your data can help enhance your direct mail or thwart it depending on how good it is. Data is your lifeblood in direct mail marketing, and the more accurate data you have, the better off you are.