By Ian Wilson
Have you ever received a piece of mail, taken a glance at the address block and had to double take? Something doesn’t look quite right. A company asking you to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds has just written to you as Mrs Ian Wilson rather than Mr Ian Wilson. Although deep down you know this is most likely an administration error, you can’t help but feel a little slighted. It also begs the question ‘if they can’t even get my name right, what is the experience going to be like dealing with them if I became a customer?’.
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This week we focus on name and address quality as a component of the Lean DM programme from The Software Bureau. Consider adopting some of the best practices below to maximise response, minimise waste and protect the brand image of your clients.
The recipient name is likely the most emotive part of a mailing and is often not only featured on the address block, but also within the mail piece itself. Combined with tailored content, the personalisation of a campaign with the recipient’s name can dramatically uplift campaign response rates, get it wrong and the opposite is true.
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Make sure data is screened for salacious words and celebrity names. If the name is Mickey Mouse or contains profanities that doesn’t necessarily mean the address isn’t legitimate. Just this year High Street Claims mailed 64-year-old Alf Skelton as Mr Dick Head causing offence and generating completely the wrong kind of coverage in mainstream media.
Also consider the identification of gender. Data processing software such as Cygnus from The Software Bureau can highlight likely gender mismatches between a Title and Forename as a standard process of downloading data. By highlighting potential conflicts in gender it is possible to stop inappropriate packs being sent and offence being caused.
Errors with the address block are less likely to cause brands to be publicly shamed in the way name errors can, however they do have financial implications. It is the duty of any reputable mail producer to maximise the percentage of mail that ends up in the hands of the correct recipient and remove those records which aren’t suitable for mail. By aggressively targeting this kind of waste overall response rates are increased and the likelihood of continued investment in the medium is increased.
To begin with discard those records which do not comply with the basic mail regulations. Blank or incomplete addresses should be the first to go. Make sure data is PAF enhanced to ensure compliance with Royal Mail standards. If the mailing is a UK or regional promotion then remove overseas records or those outside the catchment area. Remove Mailsort rejects and ensure barcodes such as Mailmark Type 9 and Type 29 are compliant.
Removing all of these records may seem counterintuitive to many mail producers. The reality is by providing this service you are saving your clients money they would have otherwise wasted and the service should be charged for. Many mailing businesses are charging either a flat processing fee or a per reject fee for their data processing service and have transformed what was a cost to the business into a profitable revenue stream.
From profanity scanning to gender conflict identification and PAF enhancement Cygnus from The Software Bureau provides comprehensive name and address quality tools. Cygnus makes it simple and efficient to help clients avoid brand damage, cut postage costs and maximise the return on investment of their campaigns.
Name and address quality is just one component of Lean DM. To learn more, why not download your free 30-page guide from The Software Bureau. Should you wish to arrange a demonstration of Cygnus or undertake a free trial, please contact us