June 12, 2019
Seasoned Direct Mailers have a variety of tricks they can play to lower their mailing costs. Tactics such as presort, co-mail, consolidation, selective binding, not to mention old-fashioned CASS, NCOA, and merge/purge have been used for years, if not decades.
Add-a-Name is another tried-and-true arrow in the DM quiver. The practice was commonly used in direct mail’s heyday and is still used today by large volume mailers. Essentially, it’s a method to ensure that each carrier route in a mailing has at least 10 pieces of mail, allowing mailers to take advantage of postal discounts. The usual approach is to fill in each carrier route having fewer than 10 — but more than seven — customers being mailed, bringing the number of pieces up to an even 10 by choosing the “best” prospects based on their model score. For example, if nine customers in a carrier route are selected for a mailing campaign, you would add one prospect with the highest score to make it an even 10. If eight customers are selected, you’d add two prospects… and so on.
Using standard MarketWide features, you can enhance your Direct Mail campaigns with Add-a-Name processing with just a few simple steps. Before we start, however, you need to make your database has a unique value for each ZIP code/carrier route combination, since different ZIPs can have the same carrier route number. We handled this by appending ZIP code to carrier route, naming the resulting field CRZIP. Note that advanced MarketWide users can do this by creating a MarketWide expression.
Next do the following.
1. Create an “Add-a-Name” segment at the bottom of your campaign tree. The segment should pull every eligible prospect on your database. In our case, this was every prospect having a model score. Note: be sure to include this score as a MarketWide Pass-Thru Field, along with CRZIP. We also passed through the Household ID, since we wanted to limit mail to one per household in our sample campaign.
2. Submit your campaign segmentation for counts and make adjustments as needed. Once you’re happy with the results, keycode the segments as always. For the Add-a-Name segment, enter “AAN” as the keycode.
3. The magic happens within MarketWide’s Constraint feature. After adding the “one per household” constraint, we attached a SQL Script constraint to execute the Add-a-Name process. The script is a simple query that updates MarketWide’s internal campaign table, adding the highest scoring prospects to each CRZIP that has either eight or nine customers selected. (Note: contact us if you’d like a copy of our Add-a-Name script.) Furthermore, every CRZIP having at least 10 customers or fewer than eight is skipped, and every unused prospect gets excluded from the campaign.
As you can see, the “One per household” constraint resulted in 75,958 records surviving. Then the Add-a-Name script brought this figure up to 108,413.
Constraint scripts are a powerful but overlooked feature of MarketWide. The interface provides you with full access to the internal universe of everyone selected by a campaign, allowing you to include or exclude records by simply setting a flag called PROMO_CONSTRAINT on or off. If the field is blank, the person is included. If non-blank, the person is excluded. It’s as simple as that!