Use Your Marketing Database to Precisely Manage Your Marketing Campaigns

Effectively and efficiently managing direct marketing data by channel can be a challenge from several perspectives, including:

  • Deliverability
  • Permission
  • Preference

Each channel–direct mail, email, and phone–has its own unique data cleansing, hygiene, and permission-based issues; to keep this newsletter simple, we will not discuss the SMS channel. Some of these issues are driven by the external operating environment and are the same for everyone (e.g., USPS or CAN SPAM compliance). Other issues may be unique to your business or driven by your organization’s specific business rules. For instance, determining whether you want to globally opt-out an individual from all channels when that customer internally opts-out from one specific channel.

When properly applied, your marketing database is your best means to manage the complex myriad of validation, standardization, correction, permission, and channel preference data issues that affect your business. These are not easy issues to manage, but it is becoming increasingly important to have a sound mechanism for administering them. You must be disciplined, precise, and adaptable in how you plan and execute. Fortunately, in these trying economic times, your marketing database provides the framework to accomplish this process, which will increase efficiency, maximize revenue, minimize costs, and reduce liability.

Your key objective is to appropriately classify your direct marketing data by channel as mailable, emailable, or callable. The data that falls into any of these three categories must adhere to deliverability standards while simultaneously ensuring that each individual deemed as deliverable has also given permission to receive marketing communications from your organization. Ideally, each individual’s preferred marketing communication channel will also be applied as part of your process. The following table is not comprehensive, but it is intended to be thorough, thought-provoking, and help you better manage your channel-specific data. Depending on your business you may or may not need to perform all of these processes.

To make the data mailable:

  • Address standardization
  • Delivery Point Validation (DPV)
  • National Change of Address (NCOA)
  • Enhanced Change of Address (performs beyond USPS NCOA standards)
  • Delivery Sequence File (DSF2)
  • Internal direct mail opt-out suppression
  • DMA opt-outs suppression
  • Internal business rule consideration, e.g. can existing customers who have opted-out through external source(s) but not internally opted-out be mailed?
  • Deceased suppression
  • Prison suppression
  • Disaster area suppression

To make the data emailable:

  • Identification of opted-in email addresses
  • Standard email address format and cleanup
  • Domain validation–error correction and dead domain suppression
  • Bogus, prank, and malicious email addresses identification and suppression
  • Email Change of Address (ECOA)
  • Suppression of opt-outs (based on internal opt-out sources)

To make the data callable:

  • Standard phone number format
  • Area code validation
  • Internal opt-out suppression
  • DMA DNC list suppression; both national and for states managed by the DMA
  • Federal DNC list suppression
  • State DNC list suppression
  • Wireless versus land line identification and suppression
  • Internal business rule consideration, e.g. can existing customers who have opted-out through external source(s), but not internally opted-out be called?

Many organizations that either do not have a marketing database or lack a well managed marketing database apply their opt-outs similar to their direct marketing approach–the shotgun, mass contact, market to your entire database approach. But, once the proper processes are in place to manage your data by channel, execution becomes deliberate and specific. For instance, if a prospect has opted out of direct mail and email, but not from phone, you can call the prospect. If a customer has opted out from phone but not from email or direct mail, you can include them in a multi-channel campaign that sends a direct mail piece and follows up with an email. Additionally, if you capture marketing channel preference data, you can communicate with each customer via their preferred channel.

The power, efficiency, cost-savings, peace of mind, and competitive advantage this brings you can be substantial–and you will be able to focus on multi-channel direct marketing instead of worrying about your data.

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