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Don’t Pay for Direct Mail Duplicates

Many of you know that I came from a direct mail background. While direct mail has proven more expensive with diminished returns when compared to online marketing, it’s still a viable channel. We’re seeing some nice return rates in the B2B industry – which has largely abandoned direct mail. Consumer-related direct mail is still a huge industry, though.

Today, I received these three identical pieces in my mailbox addressed to the same exact address. It’s a beautiful folded package that’s well designed by the folks at Victoria Secret. The youth brand, Pink, is quite popular with young women and my daughter is on their mailing list. Unfortunately for Victoria Secret, though, their direct mail program isn’t doing a good job at deduping the campaign. We received 3 pieces at the identical address. Two were addressed to different spellings of my daughter’s first name and one was addressed to me… I have no idea why.

This is an expensive mistake. The database used for these campaigns could easily be run through software that would ensure the piece is sent to only one person at the address. Additionally, it could even be merged with gender data to eliminate me altogether from the mailing.


If you’re planning a direct mail campaign, keep in mind that it’s in the best interest of some agencies to keep the volumes up. Unfortunately, that drives your return on investment and response rates down artificially. What could be a great campaign here may be reported as one that hadn’t performed well. Ensure your database is deduplicated prior to send and ask your agency if they’re willing to refund any duplicates or pieces returned.

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About Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of The Marketing Technology Blog and recognized MarTech expert. Doug is a Keynote and Marketing Public Speaker. He's the CEO of DK New Media, an agency specializing in assisting marketing technology companies with their inbound marketing - leveraging social media, blogging, search engine optimization, pay per click and public relations. He's assisted SaaS companies like Angie's List, GoDaddy, Salesforce, Webtrends, and SmartFOCUS with their digital marketing and product strategies. Douglas is also the author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.

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One comment

  1. This could be especially costly for that particular retailer – they frequently send out coupons for free products by mail. Instead of just the one item, as should be intended, your daughter could collect on three free items at the expense of their error. Good for her – bad for their bottom line. (Pun unintentional but left for giggles.)

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