Thoughts about NPF-Ken Kucera
As we spoke with visitors to the Firstlogic booth at the National Postal Forum, attended the general sessions, and popped into workshops, we noticed data was on the minds of the NPF participants. Attendees discussed topics about mailing requirements, postal savings, and logistics of course. But most conversations included talks about data.
NPF attendees wanted to learn how data can make their mailings more impactful, lower their costs, help them integrate with other communication channels, and provide the information they need to evaluate the effectiveness of mail campaigns. The US Postal Service manned their booth with experts to educate postal customers about Informed Visibility and Informed Delivery. Both programs rely heavily on data.
Great Mail Begins with Great Data
At Firstlogic we’ve always been about data. Our roots are in postal address integrity, but today we’re helping customers benefit from all kinds of data that enters their organizations. Without an effective data quality strategy, companies won’t be able to execute on all the great ideas covered at the forum this year.
Before an organization can create targeted and personalized campaigns that either start with direct mail or begin in the digital world and then trigger mailed communications, they must be able to rely on the accuracy of their data. Company databases are filled with duplicates, contradictory information, obsolete data, and missing items. The problem isn’t in acquiring the data anymore; it’s using the data effectively. That’s where the Firstlogic data quality tools come in.
Every organization’s data is different. In the decades Firstlogic has been in the data quality business we’ve developed user interfaces that allow our customers to configure the software to perform the tasks necessary to generate the desired results. Our products are not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Bridging Physical and Digital Channels
Vendors at the NPF show were telling attendees how to reinforce messages delivered via direct mail. One interesting multi-channel strategy is to display online ads to the mailing list recipients after the mail is delivered, or re-targeting.
Here’s a great example of how re-targeting works and how data quality plays a role:
Let’s assume you launched an Informed Delivery direct mail campaign. Some recipients of those mailpieces will click through to your landing page from the Informed Delivery ad. Others will take action from the physical mailpiece, but what about the contacts on the mailing list that don’t respond? Wouldn’t you want to reach those people? You’ve already done the work to identify the target audience and exposed them to your offer. It seems wasteful to drop efforts to pursue these potential customers.
Retargeting works by identifying computer IP addresses associated with the prospects on the target mailing list. Mailers rarely store the IP addresses, but industry vendors can match a postal address to IP addresses and target those customers as they browse the internet. The IP matching results become most accurate if the mailer can provide information like email addresses or phone numbers for the people that received the direct mail. Your organization might have that data, but it’s in a different database (perhaps in several databases) scattered about the enterprise.
Functionality built into the tools of Firstlogic’s DQ10 software suite help you find and connect the postal addresses to other customer data already present in your systems. Matching those data sources improves the IP address matching function tremendously and the retargeting campaign produces results.
Without cleaning up and combining the data first, a re-targeting campaign based on IP addresses may not generate the returns the mailer requires to make the extra effort worthwhile.
If you didn’t attend the National Postal Forum this year, and you’d like to find out how our data quality software can add value to your mailing projects, please contact us. We’ll be happy to show you what DQ10 can do for you.