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 The 10 Most Common Errors in Direct Mail Marketing
   By René Gnam

Are you getting the results you’re hoping for with your direct mail marketing campaign? If not, you could be committing some serious errors. Database marketing guru René Gnam shares his list of the top 10 most common direct mail mistakes.

1. IMPROPER PLANNING
Dozens of errors are included in this category, but most of them occur by trying to rush into the mail without sitting down, thinking first, and asking for outside input.

2. IMPROPER TRACKING
Often a result of inadequate coding or improper planning, but usually a byproduct of poor employee morale or training. Example: “I forgot to ask her what her priority code was.”

3. FAULTY ANALYSIS
Usually the product of an “I want this piece to be the winner” or “We think this version best describes our company’s image” attitude, but often the result of fondling and admiring the spreadsheet instead of examining its figures.

4. TRUSTING SOMEONE ELSE TO DO WHAT YOU SHOULD DO YOURSELF
Yes, I do have a Judeo-Christian ethic, but I know better than to trust anyone on a final check of artboards or repros on my direct mail campaign. Even I make errors in final checking. Someday, I’ll write a treatise on what can go wrong from the time you issue project instructions until ready-for-camera stuff isn’t really ready but is released anyway.

5. FAILING TO SEE LISTS BEFORE MAILING
Did you look at the labels or a tape dump yourself? Why not? How do you know whether you got the right selection?

6. BELIEVING YOUR FAITHFUL PRINTER
Something will go wrong, even if it’s not his fault. My guideline is to allow every printer enough time to do the job over again. I wish I always had that much extra time.

7. NOT ALLOWING ENOUGH TIME TO DO A GOOD JOB
When we have a solid idea for a mailing, we want it out almost instantly. That causes us to place undue stress on those who are trying to help us get the mail created and mailed.

8. TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE
Pause a bit. Let good thoughts mill around in your mind in the shower, at your desk, as you lunch in the park. Take breaks. Give yourself a chance to create your masterpiece.

9. RUMINATING ABOUT WHAT MUST BE DONE
Fretting about your workload, intricacies of design, production schedules, and the too many things that must be done in too short a time leads to errors. Relax. Then get it done.

10. LETTING SOMEONE ELSE ORDER LISTS
Yes, someone else – like a good list broker – can and should make recommendations, but the person in supreme charge of the mailing is the person who should make the final list determinations.

-- René Gnam is a direct response consultant and founding director of the Association of Direct Marketing Agencies.
 


Melissa Data


 
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