Targeting Just Makes Sense!

Have you ever received direct mail and wondered why someone spent the time and money to send it to you? I have. I love to “study” the direct mail that comes to my home and try to figure out the psychology behind why I was chosen to be the recipient.

Here are some examples:

  • I have been receiving beautiful gardening catalogs, pool supply catalogs, mailings from Scott’s Lawn Care and TruGreen, postcards from roofing companies and landscaping experts for the last 12 years. They mail all of this to my home – which just happens to be a condominium. I can assure you I have no intention of ever purchasing lawn care, roofing, landscaping, garden or pool supplies as the monthly homeowners fee I pay is used to purchase those services for our condo community. Wasted dollars!
  • We receive mail for someone named Mary. She must obviously live with us as, even though we’ve never seen her, that mail has been coming for the last 12 years. Though we personally don’t know Mary, we do know that she owns a timeshare, has donated that timeshare to charities in the past, likes to take European cruises, wears a hearing aid, is old enough to be on Medicare and both Humana and Anthem target her monthly for their supplemental care insurance. Wasted dollars!
  • I receive mail on a weekly basis that is addressed to my previous last name. This hasn’t been my last name for the last 12 years! And, the mail is for things I’ve never expressed an interest in or purchased previously. So, even if they just “forgot” to update their database with my correct name, why are they sending me irrelevant offers? Wasted dollars!
  • One of our team members lives in the middle of the city and owns cats. For some reason, every year, she receives a beautiful and very expensive catalog for horse tack. She doesn’t care much for horses and can’t figure out how the connection was made between owning a cat and horse tack. Wasted dollars!
  • My very favorite is a flyer I received a few years ago. The mailing was telling me the candidates I should vote for when I went to the polls to vote for Cincinnati City Council members. First of all, the candidates were all from a specific political party I have never supported. In addition, the last time I checked, Kentucky residents cannot vote in a Cincinnati, Ohio election. I live in Kentucky and this was mailed to me at my Kentucky address. Wasted dollars!

Even though these stories are very entertaining they really help us make our point when talking to our clients about insuring their direct mail is timely, relevant and correct.

When you’re getting ready to do a direct mail campaign, here are some ideas you might want to consider to make sure you are spending your marketing dollars wisely:

  1. Have your mailing vendor run your list through the NCOA software to make sure addresses are current. Also, don’t forget that if you are mailing presort standard, the post office requires this be done at least 85 days before your mail is dropped, or you risk being assessed a penalty.
  2. Make sure you are not mailing multiple pieces to the same address. For example, I often receive 3-4 pieces of identical direct mail to the same address. The only difference is that some are addressed to Debbie, Deborah and Deb Simpson, or to those names with my pre-married last name. Remove duplicates from your list.
  3. If you’re unsure of what is relevant to your targets, isn’t it time to find out? Consider a personal URL campaign to gather data on your prospects desires and then target them with relevant offers.
  4. Use the data you currently have – like previous purchases. Then target your customers with offers for other items that make sense. This can be the perfect opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell. Just make sure you aren’t targeting them with something they just recently purchased.
  5. If you have to supplement your data with purchased lists, try to be strategic. Often, some of the best list purchases can come from membership organizations, like Chambers of Commerce, or from magazine paid subscription lists. The reason these lists are usually good is that they are paid memberships and it’s likely the recipient’s name and address are correct. One of the benefits of purchasing a magazine subscription list, is that you know what their interest is, based upon the magazine’s topic.

These are just a few ideas of ways you can improve your direct mail efforts. We always tell our clients that you can send meat offers to a vegetarian and they will not ever buy what you are selling.

Today, we all have limited resources, so it just makes sense to spend your marketing dollars on those who are most likely to buy what you are selling. Visit our Resource Center to access free articles on effective direct mail.

Stop wasting your marketing dollars on targets that will never buy what you sell.

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
This entry was posted in Ideas In Motion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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