Even the best mail can run afoul of a bad wind

Two weeks ago, I launched a direct mail campaign in the northeast offering prospective customers savings on electricity supply. The mail went out Standard Rate with expectations of reaching prospects in 3-5 business days.  
Last week, Hurricane Sandy made its way up the East Coast. Based on the timing of when people on the seed list received their mail, I know that much of the mail arrived as people were preparing for the storm or recovering from the storm. Many people in the area targeted by the direct mail campaign lost power for several days. Saving money on electricity is not top of mind when you have no electricity, so it comes as no surprise that this campaign is not performing up to expectations.

  1. Develop and use a seed list. A seed list is a group of people who are added to your mailing who are not customers and can note the timing and quality of the mail received. Ideally, they should have addresses that are close to your target market and be fully integrated into the list so your creative agency and mail house treat them exactly the same as your target audience. This article from unsolicitedmarketingadvice.com is a good starting point to learn more about the benefits of seed lists.
  2. Stuff happens. More professionally stated: sometimes the best planned marketing effort can be impacted by acts of God. Make the best of it, learn from it, and move forward.

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