Live From The MeritDirect Co-op: The Jailhouse Rocks

Jul 13, 2007 11:47 PM  By

White Plains, NY–When it comes to mailing to jails, love the prison, hate the prisoner. That was the consensus yesterday at MeritDirect’s Business Mailer’s Co-op.

Prison spending in California alone reached more than $8 billion in 2006, which means business-to-business mailers should not have prison addresses suppressed. But too many list modelers will suppress the entire five-digit zip code in which a prison is located to play it safe, said Andrew Kapochunas, who works in Dun & Bradstreet’s customer data quality division.

“All that does is keeps you from prospecting all the businesses in the area,” said Kapochunas. “Suppressing an entire geographical area around a prison is a little too obvious.”

Kapochunas said that list managers should make sure they are getting prisoner suppressions, and not prison suppressions, and know the difference between the two.

Indeed, you need to check each entry field of your lists to determine you aren’t mailing to a prisoner, said Bill Singleton, manager of analytical services at database marketing and consulting firm The Allant Group.

Citing an example from a previous job, Singleton recalled a case in which a prisoner responded to an offer for a free tool kit, and was also sent a catalog. “We got a letter from that prison telling us they gave him the catalog, but not the tool kit,” said Singleton.