10 Common Mistakes That Hurt Lists

Bill Singleton, manager of analytical services at database marketing and consulting firm The Allant Group, believes even the grandest strategy can fail if you’re not paying attention to your lists.

Speaking earlier this month at MeritDirect’s business mailer’s co-op, Singleton listed the following 10 common mistakes that potentially lead to ineffective promotions:

  1. Suppress profanity in your customer and prospect files. Contact center workers have been known to replace the names of unhappy customers with derogatory words and slurs.
  2. Use the right address for your customers – don’t assume a shipping address is really an address. An order taker may have left a delivery note such as “Jack, leave at dock door 3 after 10 a.m.” in the address field.
  3. Check your data formats so that all your files can be integrated. For example, mixed formats from legacy and new data systems can foil your RFM model.
  4. Decide: if you want to mail contacts or companies. Do you want to mail 20 people in the company, or just the potential decision- maker?
  5. Check your data for gaps and aging. Data may have not been entered in a consistent or timely basis over the years, resulting in missing fields such as sales info.
  6. Screen and suppress for your competitors. They aren’t going to buy from you, but they would like your business ideas.
  7. Decide how to process your files: all together, or business-to-business separate from business-to-government
  8. Look at the reports you have – there may be opportunities to save money if you look carefully. Check out any numbers that may raise a red flag.
  9. Be sure that the response systems your customers are supposed to use actually works. The wrong landing page of toll-free numbers will cause you lots of headaches.
  10. Debrief your mailing cycle, write down the errors and successes. This will help you determine what mailings worked and why.

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