Direct Mail: Get More for Less
Saturation mail can be a valuable tool for marketers looking to reach a broad audience within a defined area at the lowest possible cost. Even better, saturation mail can be targeted with the right know-how.
"Carrier route-saturation" is a class of Standard Mail postage offered by the U.S. Postal Service to mailers who wish to communicate to virtually all addresses in a ZIP code/carrier route combination. A local barbershop might opt to saturate only a single carrier route, while a national mailer might opt to include everyone in specific regions. Although an exact figure is difficult to determine, postage for saturation mail is usually 5 cents to 6 cents lower, per piece, than Standard Mail, representing significant savings.
To qualify for the rate, automation guidelines must be adhered to regarding sorting, barcoding, packing and tagging. The mailer also must include at least 75 percent of all addresses (including commercial), or 90 percent of all residential addresses, in the carrier route in the mailing.
Consumer saturation mail can be managed a couple of ways. First, addresses may be eliminated down to the 75/90 percent penetration level. Two primary tactics used: 1) removal of current customer addresses, and 2) removal of addresses of those least likely to respond.
The first option is straightforward—addresses of customers are removed in each carrier route until the limit of 75/90 percent coverage is reached, whichever is lower. The second option is dependant upon the mailer having access to some form of response ranking methodology. Prospect names are scored, ranked and then used as suppressions against the saturation file. Those names least likely to respond are removed first, and the process continues iteratively until the 75/90 percent threshold is reached.
Target for Performance
Saturation mail can be targeted using methods similar to those employed for individual household mailings—through response/sales or other models. To model at a carrier route level, scores or data elements for known households are aggregated to the carrier route level.