Targeting is everything

In direct marketing, as we all know, targeting is everything. A misspelt name here, a stray mailing to someone that has moved there and credibility of the brand goes out of the window – not to mention wasted budget.

Last week frozen food retailer, Iceland came under fire for a mistargeted door drop. The pamphlet which featured an offer for ‘Fat Bastard’ wine on its front page received a number of complaints from consumers given it could be easily viewed by children. It was also delivered to a primary school – unfortunate, accidental, but totally inappropriate.

The issue with leaflets is the fact that targeting, except for location-based, is nigh on impossible. That’s not to say that the medium does not have its strengths. It absolutely does, particularly for public information services provided by organisations like local councils or for vouchers at a nearby restaurant. This means, as Iceland has learnt, content needs to be bland and generic so that it doesn’t accidentally cause offense to any of the potential recipients.

For such an offer Iceland would have been better placed using direct mail as the promotional channel. DM offers marketers far more control over who does and doesn’t receive the mailing and whilst a more expensive option it has a better return on investment. Customer data is clearly the key and ensuring that the information is as clean and up-to-date as possible using data hygiene techniques such as deduplication and suppression ensures that targeting mishaps are reduced.