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When we think about “marketing smarter,” we often think about spending more money. But what if you could market smarter and save money at the same time? Especially when it comes to direct mail, there are many cost-saving measures that can save you money and boost your results, too.

You may have heard that the mailing list is 40% of a campaign’s success. That’s the old adage, but it might actually be more. One creative director tells us the story of a client with more than one million inactive addresses in its  customer list. The agency determined that only 30,000 of these addresses were worth mailing. The client mailed 300,000 instead. The results? The 30,000 returned a 1.5% response. The other 270,000 returned a .001% response.

What an incredible waste! Can you imagine printing 270,000 mailers destined straight for the garbage? Mailing more doesn’t necessarily return you better results!

This might sound like an outrageous tale, but it is more common than you might think.

Another marketer—a Fortune 100 company—was told that nearly 30% of its addresses would be undeliverable. Did the company immediately strip its mailing list of those useless addresses? Unbelievably, it did not! Even though it could have taken the simple step of running its list through the National Change of Address (NCOA) and Change of Address (CASS) verifications, it didn’t bother. It printed and mailed to everyone in its list. More than 35% bounced, resulting in over $3,000 worth of wasted postage.

The agency later found out that this was standard operating procedure for this company. Turns out, it hadn’t cleaned its mailing lists in five years.

On average, the United States Postal Service says that 30% of mailing addresses are out of date. NCOA and CASS systems are designed to help with that.

CASS (Change of Address Support System) certification checks the addresses in your list to ensure that they are valid addresses in the USPS system.

NCOA checks the addresses against a National Change of Address list to ensure that your targets are not living somewhere else, and if they are, the address is corrected automatically.

These are simple steps that are inexpensive and take relatively little extra time. Not only can they save you big money on print and postage, but they can return you better results because you start out with a current, viable mailing list. This is a small investment that can reap great returns!  Furthermore, you don’t have to seek out a specialized data company to do this for you. As standard operating procedure, Action Graphics performs these list functions on all mailings we do – eliminating known undeliverables, and provides list reports back to the client to update their database. 

When was the last time you cleaned up your mailing list?

More Insights to Enjoy:

+ Boost Effectiveness and Save Money with Your Print

+ I+E+E+O – 4 Components of Marketing Success

+ Pushing the Envelope

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© Action Graphics, 2013. 

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