If not run properly, taking advantage of the current technologies and knowledge, a direct mail program can lose serious money, especially in this economy. Recently, at a Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association event, a panel of list and data, production, and postal experts got together to discuss how today's direct marketers can mail smarter.
Here are two key ideas from the panel:
1. Be accurate and on time
"The more records you can provide ZIP+4 codes for, the more money you'll save on postage and the better deliverability will be," said Mike Yapuncich, vice president of product management for Experian Marketing Services.
He also strongly recommended that mailers perform National Change of Address (NCOA) updating as part of every mail campaign—not just once every two to three months. "The benefits in deliverability and improved response will more than cover the costs," Yapuncich remarked.
2. Consider all the options, and costs, before the design phase begins
"Shape, size and paper stock definitely matter when it comes to designing your direct mail pieces," said Erik Formica, account executive for fmi direct. He listed several problems that could occur, such as using glossy stocks or post-production finishes for ink jet printing or not designing peek-a-boo windows to allow for the shifting of envelope contents.
To make sure that a design will work before implementing it, Formica told mailers to review design concepts with printers, lettershops and the U.S. Postal Service mailpiece design specialists—and to test and measure. "Initial costs will be more, but future postal savings will offset this expense," he explained.