Tag Archives: Atlanta

Three steps to a successful direct mail campaign when using variable data

I’m not the Unabomber!

My heritage has granted me the opportunity to be the recipient of endless spelling variations of my last name.  Some have been comical, some have been insulting, and some have been downright mind-boggling.  I do receive a lot of mail with simply

“Tim K.” This can be considered somewhat cowardly, but I’m at least a little less irritated.

I recently received a direct mail piece from a well-known Atlanta printer. I’ve done business with them over the years, so I wasn’t some blind prospect for them. They know who I am and where I work.  It was a nice design, and they used variable data throughout.  But there were some serious issues with the execution.

They totally massacred my name, along with using a former version of our company name. The printer was touting its ability to go the extra mile for its clients.  Do you think I believed them when they couldn’t take the time to check their information?  How much confidence would anyone have in a company that didn’t check its list?

This was totally avoidable.  A little front-end research could have planted the seeds of building on a client-vendor relationship. Instead, the potential business relationship is gone. Lost prospects mean lost dollars.

Here is my advice to anyone using direct mail with variable data:

1) Check your list!  If you are compiling your own list, hire someone to take the time to call and verify all the vital information.  It is pretty basic stuff, really. Name (see spelling), title, company name, address, etc.  You are investing a lot of money to promote your company in the hopes of gaining business. Take the time to earn the right to our business.

2) Check your list often!  If you work in the business, you know that your contacts can move around a lot.  Use some of the professional/social websites like LinkedIn or Facebook to keep up with your prospects.  Update your list and when you’re done – update your list again.

3) Proofread – I have received endless direct mail pieces that are currently in a landfill due to typos. The minute I see one, I toss it to the trash can. Don’t waste my time.

I’m done with my manifesto – off to my one-room shed in the woods.

— Tim Kedzierski, Production Manager

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Community service and the small business

I believe in serving the community where you live and work. Not everyone can do this, because the pressures of everyday living provide little or no time. However, as a business owner, I think you have an obligation to do so.

For many years, I did not know how to go about it. I always thought my business was too small, or I didn’t know the right people. Which organizations do you pick? How do I know they would even be interested in my contribution? Speaking of contributions, add in the fact that I always thought you had to write a very large check – which I could not support. So I stayed frozen in limbo-land, periodically feeling guilty about my lack of community support or involvement.

That is, until I got involved with Atlanta’s Partnership Against Domestic Violence, where I was able to offer the services of my advertising agency to help the non-profit develop a communications plan. Then it struck me – I don’t necessarily have to write a big check to be noticed – I can provide the services of my company and perform community service in an in-kind way.  That’s not rocket science, and a lot of small-business owners already know this, but it may be news to some.

For the last few years I have been contributing agency time and talent to a few worthwhile community organizations. And now I serve on the board of some of them – where writing a check is expected.

The larger message is this: once the community provides an environment where your business can thrive, you owe it to give back. It’s not just money that talks – it’s time, talent, and belief that you will make a difference.

— Rena Kilgannon, Principal

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