Speed to market typically refers to the time it takes to get a new product from its conception to store shelves. In the case of direct mail, it refers to the time it takes to get your campaign through production and into mailboxes. While both are similar in philosophy, for direct mail experts, they share exactly the same goal: get the product or campaign into your consumer’s hands as quickly as possible.
The result could be that a consumer chooses your offer because it was the first one they received. It makes perfect sense to stay ahead of your competition in this regard. That’s why there’s competitive analysis tools, competitive audits, competitive intelligence, and many other ways to analyze your rivals. When it comes to direct mail, it pays to get there first.
Consider the marketing habits of a loan company. Most of them buy credit reporting data from the same providers. Because they all get the information at the same time, it’s a race to see who can get into consumer’s mailboxes first. Why does it matter? People will oftentimes choose the first offer they receive because they get so many. There’s no denying that being first has its advantages. If you’re the first to talk to consumers and prospects about a new offer, you get the spotlight.
Here are a few insider secrets—along with some common sense tips—to increase speed to market for your business.
Clean Data Increases Speed to Market
Data hygiene (aka data cleansing) is the process of finding and fixing bad records in a database and then replacing, changing, or deleting the dirty data. To improve your speed to market—and to save money for your business—this should be a priority. Bad data is costing U.S. companies around $3 trillion each year. We could write an entire post about the damages of dirty data, but let’s focus on the positive here. There are practical ways to keep your data clean.
Identify Your Data Input Team
One of the keys to clean data is having a system in place that encourages it. That’s where data entry comes in. When you have too many people entering information, you’re more susceptible to data entry mistakes. Name a data ambassador for your business and identify any team members that will support their efforts. This reduces your chances for errors. Naturally, you should have a secondary plan in place just in case your data ambassador is away from his/her duties for a meaningful period of time. But narrow the team to a select few and give them the tools and guidelines they need to keep your data clean.
Run Your Mailing List Through the NCOA Database
The USPS has a National Change of Address database to help make sure your mailing list is current. This list features about 160-million permanent change-of-address (COA) records from individuals, families, and businesses who have filed with the postal service. Run your data through the NCOA to check for accuracy. Once it’s clean, you’ll have the correct addresses you need for your next campaign. At MSP, we’ll check your list against the NCOA database for you. That’s one less step to worry about, and one more way to speed up your time to market.
Get Rid of Duplicate Addresses
You don’t want to send two or more pieces of mail to the same address. It’s a waste of your money. If you’re going to achieve your speed-to-market goals, get rid of any duplicate addresses. By merging and purging, you’ll eliminate much of this problem and set your database on the right track.
As an aside, if you’re renting a list, be aware of the broker you’re working with. In other words, make sure they’re legitimate. Find out where they got their data from and make sure the list was recently updated. To have the confidence you’re getting the cleanest list, it’s also best to make sure they provide data hygiene and optimization as part of their service.
Keep Your Database Up to Date Regularly
Data hygiene isn’t something you should only look into once in a while. Rather than running a check of your data right before a mailing, review it at least once every three months. If you keep up with data cleansing, your mailing lists will always be accurate and ready when you need them.
Marketing Automation Increases Speed to Market
One of the best ways to boost your direct mail time to market is with marketing automation. You can trigger direct mail as easily as you trigger a digital ad. So why not do that? Any time you can shorten repetitive tasks and accelerate production, you’ll improve your speed to market. Direct mail management software allows you to streamline your workflows and reduce the time it takes to print, personalize, and track your campaigns. With marketing automation you can:
- Cut your direct mail cycle times in half.
- Reduce your monthly administrative time from a full work week down to a mere 13 minutes.
- Slash your direct mail management time by 80%.
Do these numbers seem like a marketers pipedream? They’re entirely possible with a game-changing software solution like Direct Mail Panorama.
What is Direct Mail Panorama?
Direct Mail Panorama gives you more control and a better understanding of your direct mail marketing campaigns. You can simplify the direct mail process with a “panoramic” view of all your direct mail metrics. In turn, you’ll experience a boost with your speed to market. Let’s examine a few of the primary features.
Direct Mail Lookup
Consider your customer service team fielding calls about your direct mail marketing campaigns. By merely turning to the production dashboard, they can locate the precise piece of mail and find out when it was delivered.
Editing and Approvals
Here’s where we turn to that word automation again—this time in relation to the editing and approval process. Direct Mail Panorama finds changes, determines what templates they apply to, and only sends the needed proofs to the users that need to see them (complete with an audit trail). This equals faster approvals which—you guessed it—leads to faster speed to market.
Automated Data Processing
Direct Mail Panorama receives secure mailing data, processes it, runs the NCOA check, applies suppressions, and does postal qualification—automatically in a matter of minutes—for millions of records. The software also creates proofs against approved templates, so you don’t have to wait for a programmer to come in the next morning and hand them off to a customer service representative, who then proceeds to send them via email.
To get the most from your direct mail marketing campaigns, you need to analyze and track production, delivery, and engagement. This will allow you to make any necessary adjustment to future campaigns.
MSP provides Direct Mail Panorama so you have everything you need for successful direct mail campaigns, regardless of size—all in an effort to increase your speed to market. To experience the future of direct mail management for yourself, contact MSP for a free consultation.
Postal Optimization Increases Speed to Market
Postal optimization allows you to save marketing dollars by getting lower rates on your direct mail campaigns, but it can also improve your speed to market. To optimize this process, work with direct mail experts who can steer you in the right direction at every turn.
Presort Your Direct Mail
When the USPS doesn’t have to sort your mail, you’re rewarded. By presorting, you’ll save time and money on your direct mail marketing campaigns. Essentially, you’re grouping each piece of mail according to its zip code. Sound complicated? Actually, it is. That’s why it’s best to work with the direct mail experts at MSP. We’ll CASS certify each zip code with its +4, add an Intelligent Mail barcode, and sort and bundle it into trays for you. We do the work, you reap the rewards.
Consolidate Your Direct Mail
When you have a targeted window of time that you want your mail to arrive in your customers’ mailboxes, consolidation allows you to combine skids of mail with other businesses—regardless of the volume of the mailing. You’ll save money and by narrowing the delivery time, you’ll also give your speed to market a boost.
Commingle Your Direct Mail
When you commingle your direct mail campaign, you combine it with other company’s mailings to create a discount. At the same time, you increase your speed to market by removing several stages of postal transportation. Commingling is a win-win for any business looking to cut their direct mail costs and get their campaign into their customers’ hands faster.
Enhance Your Speed to Market With the Help of Direct Mail Experts
When you increase your speed to market and get your direct mail campaign into your customers’ hands before your competitors, you’re at an advantage. You’re in a better position to get their business, even if the conversion isn’t immediate.
Begin with clean data to keep your mailing lists up to date. Find a data input team and an ambassador to take charge of your mailing lists, then remove dupes, make sure your mailing list is current with the NCOA, and maintain your database regularly. By making a commitment to clean data, you’ll help to increase your speed to market.
Marketing automation allows you to trigger your direct mailings just like a digital campaign. Direct Mail Panorama software helps you improve your speed to market by reducing overall management time by 80%. You’ll have more control and a better understanding of your direct mail marketing campaigns.
Finally, use postal optimization techniques to save on your campaign spending and boost your speed to market. Whether you presort, consolidate, or commingle your direct mail, you’ll save time and money.
MSP can help you find the perfect solution for your marketing goals. Contact our direct mail experts for a free consultation today.
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