The 1980s Australian band, INXS (pronounced “in excess”) has yet to retire though critics plea that they reconsider. The band’s name summarizes the excesses of that period, which include plenty of waste in the marketing industry — mass mailings, print overruns, static, soon-to-be-tossed collateral pieces, and one-way, non-triggered communication.
The spoilage and fallout of living to extremes or marketing to the masses has led us to today’s fine-tuned world of print on demand, variable data printing (VDP), and print automation. The pendulum has swung toward tighter controls, two-way communications, well-timed incentives, and just enough materials to get the job done and the results needed. Are you working smart or stuck in the world of give me 5,000 pieces instead of the 4,500 pieces really needed because it only costs me another $50 printing, one-way conversations, all delivered through one-channel vs. highly engaging multi-media campaigns?
When executed with tightly refined parameters and a laser-focused prospect list, VDP with multi-channel marketing is the new sensation because it generates higher results despite the smaller reach in most instances. Today’s marketing tools and digital print pieces reduce the cost of print communication by as much as 90% —shaving off the bottom half of the pyramid below.
With print on demand, there is no need to warehouse materials and no inventory obsolescence. Supplement print on demand with print automation and you also omit the last three line items at the base of the pyramid: external creative, internal creative, and fulfillment/distribution.
Just in Time Printing Omits Waste
If you’ve ever had to throw away 7,000 image brochures because of a change in leadership, you’ve felt the pain of offset printing in today’s fast moving, ever-changing business climate. It is Murphy’s Law that as soon as the annual report or other key piece gets printed, something will already be out of date.
Refine Your List, Blanketing Populations is So 80s
If you haven’t determined who your customer is, you can spend a lot of money blanketing populations of people and be missing those potential customers who are actually interested in your business.
If you’re pulling data from your internal database for your mailings, make sure your data is scrubbed and solid. A data quality survey revealed:
- While 96.2 percent of organizations view data accuracy as an essential issue, nearly one-third of them don’t enforce it.
- More than half of the respondents claim that at least 6 percent or more of the important information in their database is inaccurate or completely missing.
- 63 percent of respondents say that five to thirty percent of their marketing budget is wasted as a result of bad data.
If you’re using an outside list company or broker for your marketing project, make sure it’s been cleaned or scrubbed (the process of detecting and removing or correcting any information in a database that has some sort of error).
Errors can be the result of human data entry error, merging of two databases, a lack of company-wide or industry-wide data coding standards, or due to old systems that contain inaccurate or outdated information.
When in doubt about the accuracy and deliverability of your list, hire a mailing expert or partner with a reputable mail house to provide:
- Data Normalization
- Data Migration
- USPS CASS-Certified Address Cleaning, Parsing (Splitting)
- USPS NCOA Processing, Duplicate Record Removal (AKA: “De-Dupe” or “Purge”), Data Standardization & Reformat
Finally, make sure you’re using the tools of the 21stcentury in your marketing practices today and have retired the shotgun approach of the 80s. This is a period of refinement, not excess.