This week, my husband and I received solicitations from Geico. We received the identical solicitation — personalized with “Stewart! Stewart! Stewart!” and “Heidi! Heidi! Heidi” — to the identical address on the same day.
Why Geico doesn’t de-dupe its mailing list, I’m not sure. Perhaps it can afford to mail solicitations to both husband and wife at the same address, but most companies can’t— and there is no reason to. Any third party can do it. The print provider can do it. The client can do it. Even Excel 2007 has a de-duping feature. (Click a cell, click on the data tab, then select “remove duplicates.”) In this case, de-duping based on the address column would have been sufficient.
Why would you want to encourage clients to print less? Isn’t the longer run more beneficial to you? Not when you are printing duplicates. With marketing budgets under extreme pressure and print struggling for justification in this era of digital marketing, the last thing you want is unnecessarily inflated print costs to put a negative spotlight on print.
Then there is the issue of response rates. If you mail 100,000 pieces and 10,000 of them are duplicates to the same household, you’ve just depressed the response rate artificially. Let’s say this was a personalized mailing and the client got 5,000 responses. That’s a response rate of 5%. But if 10,000 of those were duplicates, the household response rate was actually 5.5%.
As a print provider, it’s in your best interest to optimize the value of print. That includes both cost management and boosting effectiveness. The last thing you want is bloated print costs and artificially depressed response rates that print look more expensive and less effective than it really is.
So be the hero — de-dupe!