Monday, March 22, 2010

Database Power in Direct Mail and VDP - data manipulation

Now that you have your list, our logical mind kicks in and we start asking some questions. Based on the answers we now determine how the data should be manipulated.

Owning a good list is only as good as your ability to manipulate it.

Always assume your competition has access to similar lists. So it does come down to "what can you do with it?". Having a good list and not working it to its' maximum potential, or even worse, killing your chances by rushing, or by taking bad advice, are some of the things you want to avoid. In the interest of sound and economic decision-making, you should not do any sort of elaborate campaign preparation on a known bad list, one where your response rate expectations are quite low to begin with.

So the data you work with is important, but it is less important than your ability to manipulate the data. For that reason, the process of data manipulation will be a pervasive theme across this entire book. From preparing a campaign all the way to fulfillment (working with the leads and orders received as a result of a successful campaign), the ability to massage data to your requirements and to the requirements of third-party service providers is a must, and when you work with us, data manipulation is included.

For example, from the same list you may want to do a Direct Mail

(print house requires data in a certain layout to feed it into their machines)

The mail piece gives recipients a web page to log into

(the site owner may require the data formatted to a certain layout also)

You want to follow-up 5 days later with an Outbound Voice Campaign

(the system you use for outbound voice needs the list formatted a certain way; if you want a number to be spoken out or a name to be spelled out at the press of a key, spaces must be inserted between numbers or letters, etc).

You want to do a large fax campaign, and the fax provider wants a separate fax field like so:

but with no dashes in the number, and with a "1" in front of the area code.

This is usually added as a separate field.

Question Set 1:

Will I be contacting this list via

Email? __Yes __No

SMS? __Yes __No

Fax? __Yes __No

Direct mail? __Yes __No

Telephone Sales Staff? __Yes __No

Automated Voice Broadcast follow-up? __Yes __No

Question Set 2:

What is the incentive to take action? This is usually a free redeemable item.

What is the motivator we will use? This should be a time or quantity limitation (the act now imperative).

Question Set 3:

Will we add more names (additional names) to this campaign in the future? We need to know this fact before issuing Unique IDs.

Will we need to export the orders / sign-up data to a fulfillment when campaign ends? Do they use a mainframe?

If yes, do we know their desired data layout? Is it SDF? (space delimited file)

Do I know my campaign start date, duration and the end date?

Have I allowed enough time for development, preliminary approvals, testing and sign-off before commencing?

With these questions answered, we are ready to begin preparing your data list. The process itself dictates in what way we manipulate your data; so a mailing, a call or a fax campaign will require different data formatting procedures. We take care of all of it for you. If you use our services for print and mail, you just sign-off on the proofs. If you only use our data and landing page support, we work with your other providers' database people by instructing them how to do it.

Example - determining data formatting requirements:

Here we will assume that every month we send a fax to 2000 recipients as part of our ongoing marketing & sales efforts.

Our provider is where we have 2000 bonus fax pages which we can send every month as part of our subscription.

We know that it is cumbersome to send a fax, their system was not designed for "mass faxing".

The cover page costs me a credit, so I want to batch send faxes without cover pages.

It is possible but it takes a little programming:

So we take notice of the syntax used in the delivery field, and we decide to BCC 60 people per batch (the provider's comfort zone).

If we send out 500 faxes every Tuesday, we will be at around 2000 a month. The OneBox syntax for removing the coverpage is:

nocoversheet.Company Name Inc..@8885551213;

So we need to create a new data field which contains a combination of text, characters, company name, symbols and fax number taken from existing fields and combined to match the required syntax.

We do the data work for you and send you the list back.

After we do this preparation work anyone in your company can be instructed how to log in and paste 60 records at a time in the mass fax program.

Likewise in Direct Mail hybrid campaigns which may have been explained to you at one of our seminars, the introduction of a unique non-sequential LOGIN ID as a separate printable field creates a number of marketing advantages across the board when properly integrated into a smart campaign.

This was a simple example of the power you can wield by adding data manipulation to your campaigns.

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