In the world of database marketing, there's no such thing as too much data. However, on the mail piece, there certainly is—as prospects can suddenly turn unresponsive and uptight if they see too much familiarity in the mail piece.
"Within the context of a direct mail piece, the key to using data points is to not overdo it," states Lisa Freeman, senior vice president of client strategy at Merkle. Here are a few tips to make sure you don't leverage too much data.
1. Use the Predictive Model, Not the Predatory One
"There's a wealth of information that is typically available in a marketing database," says Devyani Sadh, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Data Square. "It is important to only use data elements that are predictive and can be correlated with response."
Pegg Nadler, vice president of database marketing at Hachette Filipacchi Media, strongly recommends that marketers be sensitive to the volume and kind of data used. Examples of the kind of data that's personal and inflammatory include exact age information, specific health ailments, and children's names and ages in a promotional offer.
"If you do not already have a relationship with that customer, think carefully about what you should reveal as personal information in soliciting your products. It is better to send an offer that speaks about your product," asserts Nadler. For example, she explains, "Use, 'If you have a young child who suffers from learning problems, this is the ideal toy offer for you,' rather than, 'Your son, Howie, is going to love our new toy that is ideal for an 8-year-old who struggles with learning problems.'"
2. Employ a Healthy Mix of Data, Rather Than Mirroring Data
Sadh strongly recommends that you avoid using data elements that are correlated with each other. "The usage of data will be most effective when there is differentiation within the customer or prospect base, either in terms of response likelihood or demographics/psychographic makeup," she explains.
3. Stay Relevant, Not Redundant
Freeman advises that you don't try to incorporate the recipient's name into every paragraph. Instead, marketers should use only the data points that will help them create relevance for the offer or service they are promoting.
"It's easy to get carried away and create a high number of versions and variations. However, marketers must keep economics in mind as they determine the data variables to use in their packages. It is easy to create inefficiencies in production and mailing processes that will increase costs and make it difficult for that unique mail cell to deliver positive ROI," she illustrates.
"The best advice is to keep your promotions as simple as possible with the use of only a few data elements," urges Nadler. She says that name, gender, age range, product category interest and price point, and location are more than enough to help refine your offer.