Faced with increasing pressure to validate performance, today’s marketing professionals are implementing more integrated strategies and deploying tools that enable them to better track their return on investment (ROI). Variable data printing (VDP) enables marketers to track campaign effectiveness...
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Within 24 hours of sending out the first campaign email, 1,500 students responded to the PURL, with 56 percent completing the survey — a 2 percent response rate in a single day. Overall, the campaign netted a 31 percent response increase over the inaugural campaign in 2009. At the same time, Salem College reduced campaign mailing quantities by another 7 percent through precise targeting, decreasing related costs. Salem College saw the highest number of first-year students and transfers since 2004, an 11 percent increase in enrollment over 2009.
A Xerox iGen also was used for a print firm’s self promotion in Pittsburg. PODi member AlphaGraphics in the Cultural District wanted to enhance its database by learning more about customer' direct-marketing needs. The company developed a cross-media campaign expressing appreciation to loyal customers and encouraging them to provide feedback on their marketing challenges. The campaign incorporated direct mail, PURLs, and email. AlphaGraphics achieved a 22.5 percent direct mail response rate, identified 39 marketing services prospects, and generated new business.
If your firm is not offering VDP services to customers on a regular basis, what are you waiting for? It’s a win-win for everyone’s bottom line.
Breaking Bad (in Print)
When it comes to mailing data, “dirty” lists need to be cleaned and purged. But in an example of VDP and mailing lists at their worst, a voter registration form was sent in June to a Rosie Charlston in Washington state. The problem is that the recipient could not read and has been deceased for 13 years – oh, and she was a dog (a black lab, to be precise).
Brenda Charlston wasn't the only person to get documents for her pet. A Virginia man said similar documents arrived for his dead dog, Mozart, while a woman there got forms for her cat, Scampers. The auditor in Pierce County, WA, estimated that about two dozen residents have contacted the county about registration forms arriving for dead relatives. “They’re fishing for votes,” Charlston told the Associated Press.
A nonprofit group called the Voter Participation Center touted the distribution of some 5 million such registration forms targeting Democratic-leaning voting blocs such as unmarried women, blacks, Latinos, and people under the age of 30. These groups historically are under-represented in the election process. The group says it has helped register 1 million people since 2004 and some 300,000 people in the current election cycle. But residents and election administrators around the country have reported a series of bizarre and questionable mailings addressed to dead people, non-citizens, people already registered to vote, and animals such as Rosie, reported Mike Baker of the AP.
The Voter Participation Center acknowledged that the databases it uses to contact possible voters are imperfect because they are developed from commercially collected information. The group also said it expects people who receive misdirected mail to simply throw it away. But the mail looked very official, arriving in privacy envelopes with the headline “VOTER REGISTRATION DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED.” Some information was already completed on the voter registration papers, and recipients also got an envelope to send completed forms to local elections officials, several of whom told Baker that they believed the voter registration systems were secure enough to catch people who might improperly submit the misdirected documents.
But there’s cause for concern in New Mexico, a potential swing state in the 2012 presidential race. Administrators there warned that ineligible voters who complete the documents could make it onto the rolls. (New Mexico is one of two states in which noncitizens can qualify for a driver's license by simply proving residency — not necessarily legal residency — and state elections officials have no way of verifying the legal status of those who file registration documents.)
Ken Ortiz, the chief of staff at the New Mexico secretary of state's office, said some noncitizens have contacted the state asking why they received the forms when they'd previously been told that they could not vote. “We fear that some of these individuals who receive this mailing may feel that they are being encouraged to vote by our office or county government,” Ortiz told the AP.