Being a leading provider of variable data printing, we find that some of our clients are lagging behind when it comes to having their customer relationship management (CRM) system or database spit-shined and cleaned. Some clients we know have been mailing to the same customers for decades without touching base with them to learn if they still have interest in their products or services.
For example one real estate agent continued to mail to a client he sold a home to 20 years prior without a phone call in 19 years. His client never intended to move and fell into the group of people who don’t provide referrals. By mailing to hundreds of clients who no longer had interest in his services and who also didn’t provide referrals, this Realtor was wasting printing and mailing costs that could have been shifted to other tactics.
Similarly we see other companies and catalogers continue to send direct mail to customers for years and decades despite the fact that some customers haven’t made a purchase in the last 24 months. These mailers have chosen to NOT segment their database and just blast their pieces out to the masses – regardless of the recipient’s interest or likelihood of making a purchase. The great things about data segmentation when married to variable data printing is that you can change the message to each segment and even to each individual so that you mail the right message to the right person at the right time.
Quit Wasting Money
Don’t waste money marketing to people who aren’t listening to your message – clean up your database to stretch your marketing dollars. Are you mailing to or calling people who are no longer interested in what you have to offer? Don’t assume anything, ask and remove them if you learn their needs have changed.
Take Advantage of Mailing Discounts
You need an up-to-date address that meets postal standards and qualifies you for discounts on postage. Visit the USPS website and read their itemized list of what you need to do to be compliant. Work with a supplier who can make sure that your database has been cleansed against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database and is CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) compliant. The cost savings justifies the effort. (BTW Mail Print can help you with this aspect of your marketing effort. Just ask.)
Ask Questions at Every Touchpoint
Make a point to ask your client if there’s been any change in their contact information every time you call, mail, email, or reach out to them. Every call should include the chance to ‘verify’ the contact’s address or key information in your database.
Go Beyond the Minimum
To take your business to the next level, you must collect more than name, address, phone number, and email address. You need to collect the core information tied to your product or industry that will help you make that next sale. How old is their home? When was their last propane fill? Last oil change? Last vacation? What are the names of the children?
If pertinent, all these bits of information can be placed in variable fields on your next printed pieces, catalogs or in your emails. Remember anything that you can customize in an email can be customized, personalized in print through variable data printing.
With the affordable technology available today and the lift that is earned by executing variable strategies, it still surprises me how few businesses are incorporating variable strategies into their marketing. Why wouldn’t you use the technology to take your direct mail campaign into the 30 to 40 percent response rate rather than the standard two to seven percent?
Use Your Data Regularly
The best way to keep your mailing list clean and up-to-date is to schedule and execute regular multi-channel campaigns. Every time you mail, email or call, you have the chance to ask more about your customer and correct inaccuracies. Every mailer should ask the recipient to let you know what they think or what they need, even if their address has changed or will be changing.
Work these practices into your cross-media marketing and direct mail campaigns and you’ll see higher returns. The continual collecting and updating of customer information is like mining for diamonds.