Lists and Prospecting: Burgers’ Smokehouse Cleans Up File

Burgers’ Smokehouse is cleaning up its act. The California, MO-based cataloger of beef and pork products recently leased IntelliDress, a new customer data integration software designed to flag duplicate addresses, add zip+4 data to records, and suppress vacated addresses. And a May test mailing of more than 120,000 books indicates that the software has already paid for itself.

IntelliDress is licensed to Hoffman Estates, IL-based service bureau CompuTech Direct by Little Rock, AR-based data quality company CognitiveData. IntelliDress gathers address data from multiple sources, including the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Sequence File (DSF).

Using the software, Burgers’ captured 496 more dupes — a 37% improvement — than it would have caught by running a merge/purge with the Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) file. The $30 million marketer, which does about one-third of its sales via catalog, was also able to increase the number of zip+4 addresses on its file by 1%, from 117,594 to 118,805.

The program nearly tripled the cataloger’s merge/purge processing costs for the mailing, from $6/M to $17.50/M. But Burgers’ vice president/co-owner Philip Burger says that thanks to the savings that resulted from not mailing to duplicate and redundant addresses, “we should come out quite well if the numbers will work.”

Cynthia Johnson, president of Conway, NH-based Profitable Marketing, a consulting firm that handles Burgers’ marketing and vendor relations, breaks down the numbers the company used to gauge IntelliDress’s effectiveness. By suppressing the nearly 500 additional dupes that IntelliDress flagged, she says, the company saved $273 — or $0.55 per book mailed. Among other savings:

  • identification of 1,354 undeliverable addresses, compared with 601 from the previous method — or a savings of $745
  • suppression of 503 vacant addresses not flagged at all by the previous old method — a savings of $277
  • an increase of 339 NCOA matches, since IntelliDress uses more-liberal criteria than U.S. Postal Service.

The program also flagged the secondary dwellings of a number of customers. For instance, if a customer had homes in Florida and New York, the program flagged one as the primary address and suggested that Burgers’ not mail to the secondary address.

Johnson says she will likely run the Burgers’ file through the program four times during the next year. Then she’ll reduce processing costs by running the file only once or twice a year while maintaining the file inhouse. “By updating the file inhouse,” Johnson says, “there will be less need to use this expensive process for every mailing.”

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