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Data maintenance: Enhance your direct mail strategy in time for Christmas

Support Christmas sales with direct mail

The positive impact of multi-channel communications continues to pay dividends. Retailers have seen how email, when combined with direct mail, can boost response and conversion rates.

In an increasingly digital age, it is easy to overlook the power of direct mail, but a well thought-through strategy could easily provide a significant return on investment, especially during the peak spending Christmas period.

It is estimated that, in the UK, over 900 million Christmas cards are sent annually and, a survey conducted by Royal Mail, found that 75% of Britons would rather receive a traditional Christmas card than an e-greeting.

At this time of year, consumers open their mail with added anticipation, making them more receptive to every direct mail delivery, including your Christmas campaigns. 

The direct mail opportunity

As we move deeper into the third decade of the twentieth century, the range of digital advertising opportunities continues to grow at pace. It’s easy to think that digital is now the only place to try new things and innovate to reach new audiences.

However, direct mail offers a plethora of innovative solutions that can land right before the eyes of your target audiences. Consider ideas as diverse as ‘Wish you were here’ postcard mailers, love letters from your customers’ favourite brands or more radical self-mailers that self-produce an explosion of confetti when opened.

All of these formats provide a platform for 1-2-1 communication with your audience in the comfort of their own home.

Innovation is great as is the opportunity direct mail gives you to showcase your product range in a more complete way with a catalogue.

The case for a Christmas catalogue

It’s been 350 years since the first mail-order catalogue was published in the UK. Despite being one of the oldest forms of marketing, they’re still a powerful tool for getting your brand in front of your customers for a host of reasons:

  • No opt-in requirements or browser settings between you and your audience to stop your message from being delivered
  • Physical ads have repeat viewing potential and leave a long-lasting impact for easy recall
  • Direct mail bypasses digital noise to increase engagement and create stronger brand associations.
  • More likely to be shared with other members of the household

Catalogues keep you top-of-mind with consumers, often remaining in the household for long periods of time as family members browse at their own leisure. Indeed, mail marketing has a longer-lasting effect than online ads or emails.

Direct Marketing Association report that 27% of UK consumers still keep mail within a household twenty-eight days after receiving it, creating increased potential for driving sales. In fact, according to Royal Mail, 73% of people said that they performed an action after receiving a catalogue and 40% went on to make a purchase (with 52% saying that they went on to buy more than they originally intended with a printed catalogue).

The numbers speak for themselves. However, creating a successful catalogue requires planning, organisation and creativity. It also relies heavily on data preparation and analysis to segment the customer base and ensure the right catalogue is sent to the right person or household.

Tis-the-season for data cleansing

When using direct mail to target your customers, personalisation is vital, and therefore dependent on accurate, clean and up-to-date data, affecting both the efficiency of the data process and analytics, but also deliverability.

Customer data quality, therefore, needs to be maintained and a data cleanse process should be part of an ongoing data strategy. DMA survey stated that 62% felt the most important aspect of data strategy was data quality. Whilst this is recognised by businesses, data quality can be overlooked. Therefore, before you consider sending out a catalogue, brochure or direct mail this Christmas, consider the following:

Collect and maintain accurate address data

The starting point on the data quality journey is addresses and postal codes. Ensuring that you have the correct address is vital. All the effort and energy put into creating a catalogue is wasted if it does not reach its intended target. Cleansing the address, standardising the components and adding missing fields will support successful delivery.

With Royal Mail reporting that they force address changes to over 40,000 UK addresses each year and around 4-5% of the population moving annually, the importance of well maintained, frequently refreshed address data cannot be under-estimated.

This means that over 3 million personal addresses in the UK are potentially incorrect and any large-scale catalogue mailing could generate a large volume of ‘undelivered’ returns to any business that fails to carry out effective data cleansing.

Remove duplicate customer data

Data quality is also important when it comes to duplicates. Sending the same catalogue multiple times to the same household is costly and confusing to the individual. It is estimated that 20% to 40% of all customer records within an organisation are duplicates. Regular data cleansing will support removals of duplicates and provide clarity about household composition.

Meet data compliance requirements

Finally, in these sensitive times, it is expedient to suppress your data against deceased and do-not-mail lists. And that brings me to my final point. Compliance! It is becoming increasingly important to ensure data is compliantly used, not only because of the mistrust it creates with your customers, but also in relation to the size of the potential fines and negative sentiment it generates.

To summarise, the premise behind data quality is simple and the impact is significant, so to increase brand awareness and drive Christmas sales, consider how we can help you review your customer data before your next direct mail campaign. Learn more about how Loqate can support your data quality with our data cleansing services.

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