Who Pulled the Names?

Every time I get a wacky, mis-targeted email, in-stream ad, or direct mail, one thought goes through my mind.

Who pulled the names?

As an old-school (read that as “properly trained”) direct response marketer, that was one of the first questions we asked when we saw odd performance. That question is just professional shorthand for:

  1. Where was the source of the prospect list?
  2. Who vetted that the names are what the source held them out to be?
  3. Who looked at a sample of the records?
  4. Were the names compared to our customer, former, prospect, and INB files?
  5. Was step #4 done in the form of proper merge/purge?
  6. Who wrote the merge/purge logic?
  7. What was the select/suppress hierarchy?
  8. Who ran the merge/purge?
  9. Who reviewed the results of the merge/purge?
  10. Who eyeballed sample records from the merge/purge?
  11. Who did the names go to for preparation (splits, keys, sortation, etc.) for delivery?
  12. What procedures (select or suppress) were done on the names during the preparation?
  13. Who checked the output before the names went out the door?
  14. Who checked the seeds as the campaign was deployed?

There’s probably a few others. Nowadays some fancy algorithm lets you select and blast with one click.

And you get wackily-targeted advertising. And you wonder why it doesn’t work.

Takeaway: Always ask: “Who pulled the names?” And win.

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