Print/mail service provider clients want to know they are getting everything they are paying for. Clients expect you to track every mailpiece as you process it through your shop. In today’s competitive marketplace, operations that can’t offer this level of accountability may lose business to another service provider-one that has invested in tracking technology.
Make no mistake. Mailpiece accountability is a big thing. Any client that invests in mailed communications today wants assurances their print/mail service provider created all their mail, put it into the mailstream, and the Postal Service delivered it. Companies aren’t interested in wasting time and money on mail campaigns that don’t yield the expected response rate. A mailpiece that never makes out of the document center has no chance of creating the desired result, thus dragging down the ROI of the campaign.
Incomplete Mailings Bad for Business
Poor performing campaigns don’t get repeated, so it is in the best interest of mail service providers to decrease waste and maximize mail effectiveness. That means making sure they account for every mailpiece entrusted to them. Clients will run more direct mail campaigns when they achieve outstanding results.
Missing mailpieces become even more impactful as mail volumes decline. Data selection is much more precise than in the old bulk mail days. Marketers do not send mail to every household in a zip code anymore. Easy access to consumer data allows marketers to limit their direct mail advertising efforts to only the best prospects. With lower mailing volumes, any document omitted from a mailing because it was lost or damaged during production represents a greater percentage of the overall campaign. The opportunity loss from a few missing mailpieces can affect the results.
Multi-Channel is the Norm
Marketers have made large investments in each name on their mailing lists. They have researched and filtered until their lists contain the best prospects, and they have enhanced the file by adding demographic data, email addresses, IP addresses, and cell phone numbers. Standalone direct mail is rare these days. Most likely, your clients will tie each mailpiece you produce to integrated messages delivered electronically to the recipients. Marketers time complementary email or text messages to arrive in households according to the expected mail delivery day. Obviously, corresponding electronic messages will have less of an impact if the related mailpiece does not arrive at the target household because it never made it out of the mail center.
Mail triggered by online activity is another case where a single missing mailpiece can have far-reaching consequences. Carefully developed multi-channel lead nurturing strategies are weakened if the print/mail service provider fails to enter every direct mail element of the automated workflow into the mailstream at the expected time.
When mailing transactional documents such as monthly statements, some clients insist on mailing audits. Vision-based document tracking and logging systems like iDataScan™ from Document Data Solutions allow clients to make such inquiries without disrupting operations. Audits that used to take days to complete can be handled in just a few hours. When a camera-based monitoring system is tracking the status of each mailpiece, service providers can also fulfill last-minute client requests efficiently, such as removing certain documents from a mailing.
Complex jobs need tight controls to avoid the negative effects of double-stuffed envelopes, duplicates, or missing pages. Mistakes can be devastating to document service providers. Operations that process applications like bills, statements, insurance claims, or mail-in ballots can’t operate safely without an automated tracking and mailpiece integrity system in place. (See our recent article on vote-by-mail for a discussion about this unique application).
Making sure all the mail went out is one of the most important aspects of processing a print and mail application. Archaic methods like batch balancing are not precise enough to do the job. They can’t prevent an error from occurring and they don’t always catch a mistake that happened during the run. Without vision-based tracking systems, correcting a mailing mistake that occurred during the job requires time-consuming and expensive manual efforts that may or may not reveal the errors.
Vision-based mailpiece integrity solutions are the only way print/mail service providers can furnish the level of accountability and quality their clients demand.