Conduct database maintenance through NCOA, and other data hygiene processing services.In direct marketing, the List is King. The best creative efforts go to no avail if not targeted and addressed properly. This holds as true for a marketer’s house file as it does for purchased outside lists.

Good data can get old, bad data can creep in, and useful data can be overlooked, conglomerating a perfect storm of the dreaded negative ROI. Every day thousands of mail pieces across the land become lost at sea due to faulty data.

When database marketers don’t run a tight ship, money goes down the drain on postage and printing. Opportunities to capitalize on useful targeting data go missed. Poor results disappoint what may have otherwise exceeded expectations had marketers been mailing to freshly updated databases.

How to Ensure that Your List is in Shipshape:

1. Practice Good Database Hygiene

NCOA Process — Stay in front of consumer and business address changes with regular National Change of Address (NCOA) processing, which updates addresses for individuals, families, and businesses that file a change with the USPS.

Dedupe Contacts — A name misspelling here or an odd character there can cause multiple versions of the same contact to reside in your database. By some estimates up to 10% of most lists are duplicates. That alone can ruin ROI.

Address Verification — Some addresses are just plain wrong. Pass your database through a data verification service to make sure each piece of mail is, in fact, deliverable as addressed.

Other database processing services that help keep lists squeaky clean include merge/purge, deceased suppression, and do-not-mail registry contact removal.

2. Identify, Capture, and Deploy House Data

Chances are useful data is sitting dormant in your CRM system. It’s also possible that you are not capturing lead information or customer demographics that could be successfully leveraged in your direct mail campaigning. Nearly every customer interaction provides an opportunity to onboard key intel to your database.

Armed with such data, you can segment mailings to various persona groups receptive to different types of messaging and offers. You can also drill down to specific data points to feature custom copy, images, and offers on individual mail pieces that are sure to resonate with each customer.

The crux of variable data deployment hinges upon a well-designed database with separate fields to enter each piece of data.

3. Append Additional Data

Known attributes about business and consumer prospects alike help you better connect with customers through personalized, on-point messaging. Look to your mailing service bureau to enhance your file with:

  • Demographics – age, income, family size
  • Firmographics – job title, company sales, employee size

A clean database programmed with key targeting data not only ensures that your mail gets properly delivered, but it also allows you to conduct effective variable data marketing campaigns that can deliver a positive ROI.