Direct Selling: Get More Bang for Your Buck
1. Segment as much as you can while maintaining measurable cell sizes.
Short of applying statistics for valid and reliable segment sizes, you can apply the Rule of 100s to setting cell sizes. This rule essentially suggests that to get a meaningful and repeatable result from a segment, you would like to be able to get 100 orders for that segment. This means that if you expect a 2 percent response from a segment, you would need to mail at least 5,000 names in that segment.
In the merge/purge, this is important because mailers often find themselves in need of splitting or nth-ing segments at the end of a merge to meet mail quantity specifications. If you find yourself in this position, and you have applied as extensive a segmentation as possible, allow yourself greater flexibility by selecting inclusion records on the back end. Instead of having to nth from a set of 30,000 36-month buyers, leave yourself the option of selecting for a subset of 12,000 36-month multibuyers.
2. Use different merge rules for business and consumer segments.
Merge rules are a set of instructions that dictate whether duplicates are to be matched at the individual level (e.g., same individual at the same address), at the household level (e.g., same surname at the same address) or at the address level (e.g., same address regardless of name). Each set of rules defines what is or is not considered a duplicate.
Most service providers will allow you to assign different rule sets to consumer records and business records, as well as to enhance those rules with special instructions. An example would be to allow the merge to mail multiple records to a business site but only one per family household within a single processing run. By assigning different rules, you cut down on processing costs and allow the right mail strategy to align with the right segments in your file.