Lists: Data Cross-Over
Every direct marketer I know has spent the last few years navigating one of the biggest challenges facing our industry today: the continued shrinking of the direct mail universe. Mailers are cutting back, or shutting down, which results in decreased direct mail prospecting. Of course, less mailing means fewer responders available to turn around for list rental purposes, and … well, many of you are probably living this cycle in your own mail plans. The result, naturally, is that the available pool of direct mail responder names has contracted significantly.
You've heard it, read about it and, if you mail, you're probably spending a lot of time looking for answers or alternatives. But we know these responders didn't just vanish into thin air. Where did all the prospects go?
The Online Data World
Many prospects have clearly moved online. Consumers are buying, subscribing, completing surveys and transacting online. So, the good news is that there are still prospects who are transacting, which means they are responsive to some type of marketing. The Web obviously has become a significant source for collecting valuable streams of marketing and prospecting data. But can and should this source be integrated into postal mail plans? Is all data the same?
Well, no, it isn't. Just as postal buyer, subscriber and sweeps survey data streams all need to be evaluated for their individual strengths and weaknesses, so should online data sources—particularly when incorporating them into a more traditional postal mail plan. As any marketer can relate, every source has its benefits and challenges. The trick to making a source work is to understand those elements and make them work for you.
After talking to a variety of list brokers, managers and mailers, I've determined that the biggest challenge in using online data for offline marketing is endemic to the nature of the data. In a venue where the email address is the most important data element, how much attention is being given to the postal side of the record?