Put “List Maintenance” On Your 2012 To-Do List

You’ve devised the right strategy, crafted the right message and followed all the best practices for generating high response rates for your direct mail campaign. But if you don’t focus the same amount of attention to your mailing list, all that hard work (and a lot of money) can be wasted. With the January USPS postage increase, make 2012 the year you place extra effort to List Maintenance.

The Weinstein Organization offers many List Maintenance services to help ensure your list data is accurate, meets USPS mailing standards, improves deliverability and ultimately increases the effectiveness of your campaign:

  • Data Standardization: Includes address standardization, ZIP correction, ZIP+4 coding, delivery point coding, carrier route coding
  • NCOA (The National Change of Address) Process: Updates old addresses to new addresses when consumers or businesses move.
  • Data Appends and Enhancements: Adds phone numbers, demographic criteria (age, HH income, Home Value, ethnicity, etc.), and Customer Profiles (buyer behavior codes) to your data so you can better understand who your customers are, and target your message more effectively.
  • CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System): Improves accuracy of 5-digit ZIPS, Zip+4, carrier routes and delivery point bar codes, and helps achieve the lowest possible postage rates.
  • Merge/Purge: Combines multiple data files and removes duplicate data, which saves you money in print production and postage.
  • List Hygiene: This process “cleans” your list by correcting addresses, spelling of names, punctuation, and removes any extraneous information that can hinder the deliverability of your mail piece.

Make your list as accurate and efficient as possible to ensure that you don’t waste money, time and resources. Effective list management should be an ongoing process throughout the year. With 20% of the U.S. population moving each year, a “good” list from 6 months ago may not now have the most accurate and up-to-date information. Contact your TWO Account Executive for more information on our List Maintenance services.


Email Marketing: The Perfect Compliment to Direct Mail

Looking for a cost-effective way to reach your customers without sacrificing maximum impact? Interested in opening a new, alternative channel of communication with an existing customer without being redundant? You should consider using or expanding email marketing.

“Email ad spending will jump to $677 million in 2011, from $492 million in 2008.”–eMarketer, “Social Media and E-Mail Spending to Rise”?

E-mail marketing is an efficient way to provide timely updates, targeted, personalized messages and beneficial promotional information to your customers. Designed to encourage and prompt the recipients to take immediate action–buy, download, sign-up, or direct them to the nearest store location. Besides offering a unique creative palate for direct marketing solutions, the benefits of a well-integrated email marketing component as part of your overall strategy are numerous:

1. Inexpensive - no postage costs.

2. Multi-Channel Strategy - compliments all components of your strategy.

3. Measureable - analyze results: open rates, click-thrus, and conversion rates.

4. Easy to test - try multiple offers, introduce a product before rolling out

5. Targeted - segment your audience and vary messages for each recipient.

6. Top of mind - keeps your company name and contact info in front of customers while generating awareness about new products and services.

7. Builds relationships - often resulting in customer loyalty and trust.

8. Increases credibility - increases awareness and brandishes image as industry expert with timely news and valuable tips.

9. Quick turnaround - perfect for communicating time-sensitive information.

10. Immediate action - sales, downloads, inquiries, and registrations instantly

At The Weinstein Organization we’ve been integrating email marketing within our clients’ overall marketing campaigns since 2004. We deploy over 600,000 emails per month and the results have been impressive to say the least. For more on how cost-efficient email marketing can complement your direct marketing efforts, contact your TWO account representative today.


TWO TIP: When Not To Mail

When there's a close presidential election, a national or global catastrophe — any big event or crisis — people stray from daily habits to keep up with the news. They stay glued to web news sites, TV and radio.

Direct mail and e-mail go unread as more arrive daily. After things return to normal, people eliminate clutter by throwing away unopened standard mail and purging email inboxes. Response rates suffer.

You can't predict horrible events like war or political assassinations. But you should pull the plug at the lettershop and pause e-mail tests until the crisis passes.


Know Your Audience

‎"We advertisers must take the world as we find it. Our business is to win people, not to make them over." - Claude C. Hopkins

Claude C. Hopkins is considered by many as the father of Direct Marketing, the “reason why” copy style, and marketing analytics. Over 120 years ago he ignited what is considered the true first “creative revolution”—long before Bill Bernbach, and Digital agencies—by positing that advertising was “salesmanship on paper”.

Hopkins believed that advertising agencies needed to absorb the culture and habits of their audience, learn their “language”, and communicate with them in a way that wins them over with familiarity. In the late 1800s this was revolutionary.

Today there is much debate as to the future of advertising and marketing. Will digital and social kill traditional media? Are we on the verge of another creative revolution? Is mass marketing over? We’ll leave that to the business pundits and industry watchers to sort out, but the fact remains that success in our business is dependent on a notion that transcends all media: know your audience.

In Hopkins’ time, magazine ads were considered “new media”. And they were—the idea of placing ads in magazines was considered lowbrow, because the publications were literary outlets, supported solely by subscribers and their interest in the content. So people like Hopkins (and Albert Lasker, J. Walter Thompson himself, and many others) turned their focus to the audience, and crafted their communication and style appropriately.

By focusing on the audience they were trying to reach, the new strategies for developing effective creative in magazine ads revealed themselves. Hopkins was a true believer in communication with context—magazine readers reacted differently to ads than newspaper readers because of context. In the early 20th century, selling soap in a magazine such as Harpers required a different approach than selling that same soap in handbills, circulars, outdoor signage, and especially newspapers. Knowing your audience and knowing why they read magazines, or newspapers, or neither, was key to taking a big idea and communicating it effectively.

The same is true today. At The Weinstein Organization we approach every project with our focus on the audience first. What we might do in a direct mail piece is not necessarily what we would do in an email campaign. The message may be the same, but the audience and the context are far different. And when you know your audience you will know what to say, how to say it, and when.

Marketing agencies that worry about so-called new media and its supposed “threat” to our industry are focusing on the wrong aspect of our business. It’s all about the audience, not the media. If you know your audience, you will know what to do regardless of the media. And it’s been that way for over 100 years.


Rumors of Direct Mail’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Here’s a statistic that will leave the Twitteratti and Blogosphere scratching their digital heads: direct mail volume increased 16% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2010 to 6.1 billion pieces in total, according to data from direct marketing intelligence firm Mintel Comperemedia.

At a time when most industry observers believe that Email and Social Media are rising up to replace Direct Mail as the best forms of one-to-one response marketing, this new finding (published June 3, 2010) gives letter shops, postal employees, and DM agencies a reason to “keep the faith” in a marketing vehicle that has reliably powered our industry for decades.

The report cites the insurance, credit card, and mortgage lending industries as the category leaders in this uptick of printed mail.

At The Weinstein Organization we’ve never given up on postal Direct Mail. As an Integrated Marketing agency we have augmented our Direct Mail strategies with digital response channels such as PURLs and Twitter that tailor the interactivity to the natural preferences of the individual, to increase the likelihood of response.

Direct Mail has inherent properties that can’t be duplicated by digital media. Direct mail is tactile—you can hold it, interact with it, and research shows that people spend more time with printed mail than with other media. You can’t “click away” from a Direct Mail piece. And Direct Mail lives in the one place that people still go to day in and day out: the mailbox.

The mailbox at a reader’s home address offers marketers unique identifying data that is stationary, definitive, and revealing. Our home address says something about our demographics, economics, psychographics, and is much more reliable than an IP address. And studies show that while people do take a break from their computers and mobile devices from time to time, going to the mailbox every day remains a constant behavior.

Statistics like these prove that no media is ever really “dead”; they may fall out of favor, or ebb and flow with the trends, but they never go away completely. Integration and innovation are the refresh buttons for postal Direct Mail. Content is still the response driver, strategy is the roadmap, and media is the vehicle. And in many cases, Direct Mail is still the best way to go.