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The right selection and quality of the addresses.
Experts are agreed that up to 60 per cent of the success of a direct marketing campaign depends on the addresses. Customer acquisition via mailshots in particular depends on the right selection and quality of the addresses. Even so, many companies neglect this area and fail to tap the potential of their target groups.
Companies focus more on the mailshot design and what they are offering than on the addresses. Yet when carrying out the target group analysis, it would make sense to check whether the required addresses abroad are even available, because differing European legal regulations are often reflected in the lists provided by the address publishers and list brokers. For example, in the B2C field, in some Eastern European countries with strict data protection provisions, it is not always possible to select target group-specific addresses of end-consumers according to age, sex, household size or purchasing power. Addresses of mail order customers and so-called “lifestyle lists” are not available in every country either.
“If you want to be sure of using up-to-date, target group-specific addresses, it’s advised to test the quality in advanced.”
Taking care in the B2B addresses is also necessary. Address publishers and list brokers sometimes promise selection options that are not possible according to the industry classification system of the particular country. In France, for example, an employee headcount is specified for each company as a matter of principle, while in Italy companies can generally only be classified according to whether they are large, medium, or small. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland work with very detailed industry classifications too and have partially switched to the EU's NACE codes. So-called NAF codes often still apply in France, and the SIC codes that used to be standard in the USA are still being used in Great Britain. If you want to be sure of using up-to-date, target group-specific addresses, you have to test the quality in advance in both the B2C and B2B fields.
Wastage due to undeliverable mail can be largely prevented if the addresses are compared with reference databases beforehand.
To reduce the number of returns, existing addresses in the customer database must also be regularly maintained and updated. Changes of residence and deaths are the most common reasons for out-of-date addresses in the B2C area. In almost every country, reference files are available that can be used to update your information. There are also corresponding reference files, for example, to identify addresses to which mail is undeliverable – so-called nixies – or to remove defunct companies from the customer list in the B2B area.
Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a 100 per cent correct address database. However, if you regularly maintain your addresses, and check and update them each time you receive an order from a customer, you will save not only the postage for undeliverable mail, but also the costs of printing and preparing it for dispatch.