Direct Mail Drives Profits
"For the auto industry, pieces often include the names and addresses of local dealers, printed maps, the names of the service manager and the hours of operation for a place of business," he said.
"Since the insurance industry is pretty state-specific," he continued, "we have to image all the rules and regulations for a particular state. Everything comes off of the data file and we manipulate it to a particular position on the page."
The databases involved will either come from the customer or can be bought from a list company. In some cases, a combination of both are used.
Nesbit said that some distributors initially may fear getting involved in direct mail because of the database factor. "We find that they sometimes get hung up on the fact that it's all electronic," he noted. "They really just need to know some basic aspects of databases."
For example, he said that the format will be in a database file or an ASCII text file. Also, it should be in a fixed field layout, in which there are separate fields for the first name, last name, street address, city, state, zip code, etc.
Blohm noted that it's helpful for distributors to furnish manufacturers with a tape record layout, which is like a blueprint or road map to the database and indicates where on the database each field resides.
"When distributors tell us where to get the specific information, it helps the process go more smoothly and enables us to do our jobs properly," he said.
Along with having some basic knowledge about databases, distributors must also know how to design the piece correctly. Several factors must come into consideration when distributors are in the designing phase.
"An important thing for distributors to consider when designing the piece is keeping within postal regulations," said Nesbit. He explained that if these regulations are ignored, charges for mailing will increase.