Don't Overlook Data Enhancement
Data enhancement and enrichment is the practice of adding details to data records, enabling marketers to fine-tune outbound marketing campaigns. Options include adding geocode coordinates for mapping, estimated income, gender, age, or home ownership to prospect records. Other enrichment opportunities include appending email addresses or phone numbers and filtering lists to remove unresponsive records. Identifying and eliminating duplicate contact records further improves data.
Transcend the Obvious
"Everyone understands that printers print and mailers mail. Show me something new and different that improves my response rate and makes me want to do business with you."
The marketplace knows what printers and mailers do. Yet most service providers' websites feature a long, lackluster list that includes business cards, envelopes, brochures, forms, binding, folding, and a hundred other products or services every printer offers. Use website real estate and the short attention span of most visitors to focus on customer acquisition. How can you escalate the success rate for your customer's printed materials en route to their prospect's mailbox?
There are only so many things a printer can do to a piece of paper to make a profit. You already do them. The next move is monetizing data to add revenue to each job. Data enhancement options are many, and your clients need some or all of what this tactic can offer.
Targeting Your Customer's Customer
Combining creative copy and graphics with a relevant offer improves the odds of a positive response. But even the most engaging mail piece will only generate the desired response if sent to the right audience. The better the targeting, the better the response. The following summarizes data appending options and techniques print/mail services can offer to add value and revenue.
- Address Standardization, Cleansing, and Updating. You already offer NCOA move updating and standardization with a CASS-certified application as a precursor to presort postage rates. Please do not discount the value of these programs because they are familiar. Everything discussed here pivots on clean, current, and correct mailing addresses.
- Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA). PCOA takes records not processed by the USPS National Change of Address service and applies a 2nd pass process, using referential data to find moves beyond those identified by NCOA. Every data enrichment service's PCOA is different (hence, proprietary), so test a few to see which one you like best.
- Geocoding. ZIP Codes are weird things. They vaguely follow population patterns but were established in 1962 and have mostly stayed the same. If the client sells a regionally sensitive product, geocodes are a more effective way to target who gets mail and who does not. It enables targeting income clusters, residence types, and age groups. Geocoded addresses imported into mapping applications identify customer density.
- Suppression. Your clients have records to whom they should not mail. The chance of response is zero, or there could be compliance and ethical considerations. Filtering lists to remove the deceased, the incarcerated, or residents of nursing homes is not only a matter of data accuracy, but also of ethical concerns. Households receiving mail for a deceased family member is painful and may result in reputational challenges.
- Duplicate Address Detection. What defines a duplicate record is a decision for the client. They also decide the disposition of that record. Process the list and create a report of suspected duplicates. Provide (sell) the information to the client and let them decide. Your mailing software may have a duplicate checker built in, but you need something more. Use an application that creates match codes, scores the amount of duplicated data, and looks at the whole record, not just the address or name. Independently entered data may not be identical, so relying on only exact matches will miss some duplicates.
Duplicate address removal saves postage, printing, and potential embarrassment. It supports a green initiative by eliminating redundant copies. This is a quandary for printers. Eliminating addresses means fewer printed pieces; however, the customer relationship benefits outweigh the revenue on a few additional copies purged by a de-duping exercise.
Non-profit organizations are especially susceptible to the negative ramifications of duplicate mail. Three matching mail pieces arriving on the same day, at the same address, asking for a donation conveys a culture of mismanagement and waste.
Append Data, Add Marketing Channels, Make Money
Added email addresses and phone numbers enable businesses to diversify and expand marketing programs. Printers can manage projects that include email campaigns, text messages, phone calls, and postal mailings. Aggregate as much relevant data as possible for each contact to give yourself numerous campaign integration options.
The ability to enrich data and target prospects with precision is a great way to add value to the services you already provide. By explaining the options to their clients, print service providers can improve customer relationships and generate new revenue streams.
Here are some specific ways print service providers can use data enhancement to improve customer acquisition:
- Create targeted mailing lists. By segmenting their customer lists based on demographics, interests, and other factors, print service providers can create targeted mailing lists that are more likely to generate a response. Many printers enjoy higher profit margins for variable data printing.
- Personalize marketing materials. Data enhancement can be used to personalize marketing materials, such as brochures, postcards, and emails. This can make the materials more relevant to the recipient and increase the chances of a conversion. Customers who run campaigns with favorable ROI figures will ask you to repeat them.
- Develop multi-channel marketing campaigns. Print service providers can use data enhancement to develop targeted marketing campaigns across multiple channels, such as email, direct mail, and social media. This can help their customers reach their target audience more effectively and efficiently.
- Improve campaign ROI. By dropping unlikely buyers from the mailing list, print service providers reduce waste and increase the return.
Don’t overlook data enhancement as a way to distinguish your print service business from the competition and build a loyal customer base.
In 2001, Roger Gimbel founded Gimbel & Associates, an international consulting firm providing business and market development services, skills training, and expert public speaking in the graphic communications and digital solutions industry. The mission of Gimbel & Associates is to help clients identify new business opportunities and implement leading-edge solutions using expertise in organizational development, technology selection, implementation, and work processes.
Roger oversees a team of Consultants with expertise in sales training, workflow analysis, MicroModeling, multichannel marketing, marketing plans, transactional printing, trans-promotional applications and creative strategies for mergers and acquisitions, business development workshops and seminars.