Roll Your Eyes or Prepare for April 17 Postal Increase?

By on April 12th, 2011

Julie Sullivan marketing VP WildeOn April 17th, there will be another postal increase for some mail categories. As a direct marketer, you can choose to do one of two things:

1. Roll your eyes and feel defeated by yet  another price increase, certain that direct mail has become cost-prohibitive. OR

2. Scratch your head and reflect on ways to optimize your programs and actually save money despite the postage increase.

If you, like me, opt for the silver lining approach, let’s explore four smart and easy ways to decrease your direct mail spend and increase your response rates. Talk about a win/win proposition!

  1.  Segment Your Data.  By segmenting your database, you’ll be able to quickly discover buckets of opportunity ranging from your most profitable customers to your highest potential prospects. Allocate your marketing dollars wisely, and don’t waste your budget on messages that will fall on deaf ears.
  2. Craft Relevant Messaging. As a direct marketer, you goal is to illicit response. Not only do you need to find the right audience, you also need to hit them with a relevant message that will get them to act on your offer. Incorporating strategies such as personalization and human behavior response triggers into your copy and design can improve your response rate and ultimately increase revenue.
  3.  Digitize Your Print. Use technology that will transfer your one-sized-fits-all communications into meaningful conversations. Through business rules assigned to your program, variable digital print can take hundreds of variables and make them come alive into a personalized message for your target audience. Less volume and higher response can validate the digital print ROI.
  4. NCOA Your Mailing List. An upfront investment in NCOA (National Change of Address) could save you sometimes thousands on undelivered mail. Use this updated data with correct mailing addresses to cleanse your database and maintain a high quality list.

I received a timely example in the mail yesterday that brings home the point I am trying to make. A catalog called “Your Electronics Source for Engineering Solutions” was sent to me but with the title of a position I held two years ago. Had I left Wilde, this irrelevant catalog would have never come to my attention. Lucky for them, I’m still at the same company. But unlucky for them, I’m not in the market for Extra Rugged Sealed Circular Connectors or Round Pin Fin LED Heat Sinks anytime in the near future. Money, in my opinion, not so well spent.

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    3 Responses to “Roll Your Eyes or Prepare for April 17 Postal Increase?”

    1. John Leininger Says:

      How would suggest a company go about correcting your mailing information? NCOA would not fix that. You cannot send in a change of address when you move from one company to another (it only works for the company as a whole or a residence). Maybe it is your next posting, but none of the 4 options you covered would have helped stop the distribution of the mail piece you use as an example at the end of your post. Please do not interpret this, as disagreement with the four actions you suggest, I just think you picked a more difficult problem to address in your example.

    2. Rob Says:

      The good news for Direct Marketers is that the USPS is throwing out the idea of offering a 3% postage discount for utilizing QR codes on direct mail pieces. They are planning to add this as part of the Summer Sale Incentive program. I’m still waiting on more details, but this could be a great opportunity for Direct Marketers to dive into using and better understanding QR codes while saving some money on the increased postage. It should be interesting.

    3. Julie Says:

      Hi John – Good point. I agree with you about NCOA’s limitations. With the example I gave, it really covers a 5th point I should have made which is to have good list hygiene. This can be done by outbound companies validating your list as well as the sales team updating CRM.

      Even if best practices in list hygiene still delivered this mailing to me, I’d say that this company didn’t practice option 1 or 2 which is segmenting your database and then crafting a relevant message that would motivate me to act.