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If you're familiar with the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing, then you know how important mailing lists are to your success. For the uninitiated, the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing states that 40 percent of your direct marketing mailer success is contingent on the quality of your list, another 40 percent is contingent on the quality of your offer, and the remaining 20 percent is everything else (copy, design, printing, etc.). With so much at stake, it makes sense to develop a highly targeted mailing list comprised of likely buyers. Also for winning mailing lists, clean data and recency are just as important.
Essential to a winning mailing list, clean data simply means that the data is accurate. If a list is dirty, it has inaccuracies that render your direct-mail postcards, catalogs, brochures, flyers, sales letters and other materials undeliverable. Imagine sending 20,000 postcards to a mailing list, only to discover that 5,000 of the names on that list had moved since the list was compiled. Not only would you lose money on undeliverable mail, you would lose the opportunity to reach your target market. This is why some direct-mail pieces are addressed to a name or "current resident." The companies that send these figure that if a list is outdated, at least they can put their message in front of someone - although that someone is not necessarily a likely customer.
Clean data isn't just about addresses, either. Name misspellings can turn potential customers off; and incorrect ages, incomes, careers, purchasing trends, and other data could mislead you to choose the wrong list for your particular campaign. This is why many companies choose list brokers to help them locate the best mailing lists. Another good alternative is to compile your own list using PsPrint's mailing list generator feature. This tool pulls information from databases that are continually updated.
Recency is another important factor to consider when choosing a mailing list. Recency is the length of time it has been since a customer has made comparable purchases. For many products and services, frequent buyers are best - food, hardware supplies, home improvement, and other industries thrive off of consistent repeat business. If you're selling refrigerators or automobiles, however, it typically doesn't make sense to market to someone who has just made one of these major purchases. If you wait three to five years, you have a better chance of catching them when they're on the lookout for big-ticket items.
There are always exceptions - if you're branding your company, it doesn't hurt to get your brand in front of prospects for several years before they buy, or if you're launching a promotion to accept new trade-ins in exchange for one of your products. Still, knowing the recency of your mailing list is important so you can target your campaigns to meet the needs of the individuals, families and/or businesses on your mailing list.
With the right list, the right offer and a touch of pizzazz, your direct-mail marketing campaigns will prosper. To get started, make sure your mailing list is compiled with clean data and recency.