Statistics on postal mail in the UK are astounding. PostWatch estimate that 12.4million letters are lost every year, of those 60% are addressed incorrectly. More alarmingly, undeliverable mail has increased 50% in 5 years. This is a result of lazy and/or unqualified database managers not keeping their contact databases updated and clean. It costs UK businesses millions every year in print and postage costs – and worse, some company’s reputations are tarnished by tardy direct marketing and they lose customers.
How can you stop this happening to you?
1. Give someone in your business the sole responsibility for data capture and cleansing and have it mandated from the board. Everyone has to buy into the importance of how good well managed data can positively impact the business.
2. Design an ‘audit’ process – at a minimum ensuring all address fields, names and salutations are stored in the correct fields – more sophisticated contact records and preferences should be dealt with later.
3. Set objectives and measure them. These might be reducing % of returned mail, obtaining stats on sign up or basket abandonment on your website, reducing the number and type of complaint to name a few.
4. Manage self registration – make certain fields mandatory on your website, enquiry forms etc. Offer a post code look up. If you operate internationally, invest in systems which amend records depending on country (German and Italian addresses especially). But check any new incoming contact before you add it to your database.
5. Give your contacts the opportunity to confirm their details in every communication – magazines do this very well with their double sided cover sheet.
Your customer data is one of the most important assets within your business. It is unique and has been amasssed over time. Spend a little time giving it a little TLC.