Once you have decided to use Direct Mail, you must research to understand who your targets are in some detail. These targets can be selected from any commercially available database. This will locate your potential customers from the “whole world” of customers. Whether you are targeting business customers or consumers, there are clear steps in the planning process.

10. Profile your existing customers. Review your current customer or consumer base, if you have one. Look for any similarities between customers in terms of their type, regional distribution, age, economic characteristics etc.

11. If you have only basic customer records, such as are held in an accounting system, upgrade them. This eliminates the guesswork element of profiling. A database marketing company can add significant value to your data records by incorporating important information from their own extensive company database into yours. Such information could include company type or market sector, turnover, employee numbers, postcodes, fax numbers etc. This will allow you to accurately map and profile your database in detail.

12. If you don’t have the luxury of a customer base, use market research and your product/service USPs or Unique Selling Points to try to identify what types of people or companies would most benefit from your offering.

13. Identify your “hottest” prospects. These are customers who return the most for your time and money investments. They will have the greatest need and “match” for the benefits of your product/services.

14. Look for gaps in your customer base or profile. Are there any potential customers or groups that you could try to target that you haven’t already? Direct Mail is ideal for testing any new groups on a small scale and at relatively low cost to assess response rates.

15. Is there any geographic bias in your customer base? Do you want to maintain it or expand? Is the rest of your company able to handle any expansion implications?

Related Topics: Direct Marketing