Hughes Network Systems’ Peter Gulla on Mail Tracking
We had two issues that drove adoption. One, with bulk rate mailing you have 10 days for the mail to arrive. At first, it was hard to predict how long it would take a national mailing to arrive in our target markets. So for us, the PLANET Coding laid down the baseline of if I mail, this is what I can expect in volumes and how [mail] hits, and then we use that to project our call center volumes. We pretty much have a curve of where we can predict when the call volumes will peak, and we use it for planning drop dates, staffing and more.
The other reason that initially got us to [use PLANET Codes] was we had a mailing and the results were less than what we had expected. And it was hard for us to diagnose what had happened. So the PLANET Coding helped us be able to find out … it’s sort of like an insurance policy to some extent, in that when something does go wrong, you’re able to track it down quickly and figure out if there was a [delivery] problem.
It gives you the visibility of what happened.
TM: How does mail tracking help Hughes Network Systems with its marketing goals?
PG: It helps with tracking the delivery timing and sequence planning for our mailings and then doing the postal analysis to make sure the different areas that we go to all are being delivered. We started shipping mail directly to the BMCs [Bulk Mail Centers], so we can measure the impact of that, which has been to improve delivery.
Also, we know that it takes people between two and three calls to our call center to make a decision. And we have deadlines sometimes for special offers and rebates. So you don’t want to mail to close to the end of the special offer or rebate; you want to give people time to read the material go online, research and call. But you don’t want to leave big periods without a promotion going in the market, either. So PLANET Coding helps us keep a constant flow of mail in the marketplace and know that if we mail, we generally can make sure it arrives within this kind of time period at this time of year. And while we haven’t seen any cost savings on our call center activities, it has helped our call center improve its answer rates for our campaigns.