We've Got Data
With data breaches being announced on a weekly basis, prompting Congress to further explore the soft underbelly of data compilation and rental, this legislative round promises to put a tighter hold on data collection and sharing. With consumer protection at issue, a more formal, regulated process is needed, but it remains to be seen what kind of widespread impact such belt-tightening could have on direct marketers' ability to define their target audiences and craft personalized campaigns.
One resource that is not within legislators' purview: the Who's Mailing What! Archive. Currently, the online database contains more than 175,000 listings, representing mailings received by the Archive from January 1994 to March 2005. And with the relaunch of the Archive's online search tool this month, you'll get more details on what's being mailed in the United States than ever before.
With hot and heavy competition, sometimes success can hinge just on getting your direct mail package into prospects' and customers' hands before the other guys knock on the mailbox door. But the biggest ROI comes from offer, message and creative breakthroughs. Hopefully Inside Direct Mail provides you with a monthly dose of inspiration to find your breakthroughs. But you can supplement this insight with access to the Archive onlinethe editorial team's main source of inspiration for this newsletter.
When you log on to the Archive's Web site, you will be able to view specific package details, such as package size/format, offer, sweepstakes usage, presence of personalization, etc. And, on mailings collected since September 2004, you also will get a premium/freemium description, front and back cover/envelope copy highlights, donor ask string, annual percentage rate, and more. Armed with this in-depth research, you can dig deep into mail trends for your category or for all direct mail.
As I mentioned last month, the Archive is creating PDFs of nearly every mail package in the collection. More than 5,000 scans are available now, with thumbnails loaded onto the Web site. So, not only can you sift through mailing details, but you can get a look at low-res images of the packages themselves. If you want to order full-size, high-res PDFs, you simply add the desired database listings to your shopping cart, check outpaying either $30 or $50 for each package, depending on the mailing's complexityand, presto, you'll get immediate access to a Web page with links for each purchased image. You then can print and/or save the images to your desktop.
The annual access fee for this new, enhanced research tool is only $69.95, but Inside Direct Mail subscribers are eligible for the preferred rate of $49.95. To claim your discounted price, use the following promotion code when you sign up online: A0505B.
Quite simply, there is no database of this kind on the market at this low price. I know I sound biased, but that's because I am: I use the Archive daily, and know firsthand the power of this information. With a 100 percent money-back guarantee, what have you got to lose? Visit www.whosmailingwhat.com. You won't be disappointed ... and if you are, tell me about it. My direct line is (215) 238-5437; I welcome your feedback.
P.S. Interested in how the recent data security uproar affects you? Turn to page 30 for Tracy Gill's interview with Jerry Cerasale, the Direct Marketing Association's senior vice president, government affairs.