By Ian Wilson
Direct Mail’s star is in ascendance. Stats and recent research show that volumes are on the increase. End users are becoming increasingly aware of the power of DM as a legitimate marketing tool as new initiatives from organisations such as Royal Mail are widely publicised. Moreover, as criticisms continue to be levied against telemarketing, lead generation and internet display advertising budget is being shifted across to DM from new and existing mail clients.
This is obviously great news for those of us in the industry. But with it comes responsibility – and that responsibility is in the form of exemplary data hygiene. Get it wrong and we risk damaging the reputation of an already fragile (but recovering) medium. All of us play a part in protecting the integrity of direct mail and ensuring it continues to be a cost efficient and effective channel. Currently there are three data processing options for mail producers:
1. Don’t offer the service and presume the data has been cleaned and checked by the end user or someone else.
2. Offer the service and outsource it to a third party.
3. Offer the service and use an in-house data processing tool like Cygnus.
As the purveyors of Cygnus (an award winning data processing solution) of course we are going to endorse the third option – but without invested bias there are five key benefits to using an in-house solution.
i. Control – this means that you are not dancing to the tune of others i.e. not being subject to delays that are outside of your control and waiting for third parties to return the data to you for fulfilment. It also ensures that the processing is undertaken to your standard.
ii. Compliance – you can be 100 per cent sure that your clients’ data is 100 per cent compliant and with our support you will be made aware of any compliance issues as soon as they happen. Data falls within the field of ‘ignorantia juris non excusa’ in other words you and your customer are liable for non-compliance even if it is your outsourcer’s fault.
iii. Commercial opportunity – by undertaking the cleansing yourselves you can maximise your profit margin by not being the middle man. And with the legislative focus firmly on data there is a firm revenue generating opportunity here!
iv. Upsell opportunity – if you fall into the first category (don’t currently offer data processing as part of your service) and feel that you might be too late to persuade clients to swap their data processing to you, offer retrospective data audits to your clients which will showcase your abilities to clean their data and provide best ROI.
v. Client retention – by offering your clients in-house data consultancy you can truly become a valuable and trusted part of their team. By flagging any concerns and demonstrating how much money you can save them in terms of production costs and brand damage associated with mis-targeting; what customer is going to believe that you don’t have their best interests at heart?
So in summary can you afford not to bring data processing under your roof? If you would like any further information, please don’t hesitate to give me a call to discuss on 0870 735 9536 or you can request a demo or an evaluation