You created an attractive self-mailer with an appealing offer and a strong call to action. You added a personalized URL that leads to your campaign landing page. You selected the right target market. You carefully considered the elements that should drive a successful campaign. So why were the results lagging?

One common cause: you mailed to an inaccurate or dirty list. Marketers often forget that the list accounts for 40% of direct mail success, according to the widely accepted 40/40/20 rule.* List integrity is often overlooked in the drive towards a successful direct mail campaign. If you want your marketing efforts to pay off, you must keep lists clean and up-to-date. There are two key types of lists widely used in direct mail campaigns: an in-house list and a purchased list. Both offer unique challenges for data hygiene.

In-House Lists

Keeping in-house lists clean can be challenging because data is often coming from different internal sources. It’s imperative to have company data entry standards in place and ensure they are followed by everyone (from upper management on down) who inputs information that could end up in a mail file. Consistent data entry on the front-end eases data maintenance on the back-end.

Purchased Lists

Starting with a reputable list source who values quality over quantity gives you a much better chance of reaching the right people with the right information. It’s important to make sure your list source is constantly updating the addresses on their lists and eliminating the bad ones.

Responsory’s Proven 4-Step Data Cleanse Process

All lists, in-house and purchased, should be checked for integrity before sending your mail. At Responsory, we operate under our proven 4-step process to cleanse client lists: Validate, Standardize, Cleanse and De-Dupe.

  • Validate: Check to ensure the contacts, companies and addresses are within the target audience for the campaign. For smaller lists, you verify every contact and with larger lists you can spot check contacts. For example, we often use company websites or online tools such as LinkedIn to check names and addresses. If we can’t find the information on the web, we make phone calls to check contact information.
  • Standardize: During the validation process, we also standardize the format of information (STE instead of Suite, Ave instead of Avenue, state abbreviations instead of spelling names out, etc). Standardized information permits effective filtering and sorting.
  • Cleanse: Once we’ve validated and standardized the list, we run it through the National Change of Address and CASS systems to further ensure the information is current and formatted appropriately for postal standards. We use those reports to remove/update names as needed.
  • De-Dupe: Lastly, we filter and sort the list to identify and remove any duplicates.

Recently, we followed our tried and true data cleanse process to help a client execute a successful dimensional mail campaign. By Validating, Standardizing, Cleansing and De-Duping their list, we were able to achieve a 99.7% delivery rate, almost eliminating returns.

Our proven 4-step Data Cleanse Process works well for email lists too. Contact us today to discover more.

* Direct marketing guru Ed Mayer established the 40/40/20 rule for marketing success in the 1960’s: 40% is attributed to the list; 40% is attributed to the offer and 20% is attributed to the creative and everything else.