in Direct Mail
The art and science of de-duping a list
De-duping sounds simple: don't send duplicates to the same address! Yet, the decisions that go into de-duping can be complex, and should be driven by your marketing goals.
Let's use two examples: a mailing for a pizza shop vs. a mailing for a fundraiser. For our example, let's assume both are being mailed to a household of two adults and two teenage/young adult children.
The pizza shop mailer is an easier de-dupe. Since most everyone loves pizza, we simply need to ensure that only one piece is mailed to each physical address. In this case, we standardize your lists by running them through a system called CASS, and then we ensure that only one is mailed to each address. This of course, suggests you want to mail to individual households rather than produce a saturation mailing that would go to every house in a neighborhood, for example.
What is CASS? Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) is a certification system from the USPS for address validation. A CASS-certified address validation service will standardize your mailing list format and verify that addresses are valid.
The fundraiser mailer is a bit more complex. Let's say the fundraiser is a rock concert to benefit a local homeless shelter. You might want to mail to both of the teenagers, rather than the older parents. Alternatively, let's say it's a golf tournament. Clearly you would want to reach one of the adults. For these types of mailings, your goal is to address the piece to the decision maker for your event. Getting your list prepared involves first identifying the households with multiple contacts, and then choosing the right recipient for the mailer.
The key is that if you want accurate de-duping, avoid de-duping by address and name. If name is spelled differently each time, for example Tom and Thomas, it will not be flagged and you will mail a duplicate. De-duping by name and address requires an exact match in both places.
Often, the best strategy involves a joint effort between Holland Litho and the customer. We can provide you with a list of all households for which you have multiple names. You might then select the appropriate name to target for each of these households.
Holland Litho has a detailed process we recommend for more complex de-duping efforts. We would be happy to share this with you; just give your sales rep a call.
When thinking about response rates, it all starts with getting your mailer in the hands of the person who is most likely to respond within the household. For more information on de-duping, please contact your sales rep.