Targeting » Why We Went Postal!
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Varga Tip
“When making a decision about where to deploy an advertising campaign it’s important to know that “assumptions” about your targets are not being made.”

Julissa Guerro,
Consumer Behavior Analyst

In our continued quest to find the best base count and targeting data available we noticed an interesting phenomenon. Direct mailers were all using United States Postal Service geographic shapes while the front door marketing companies seemed to be using Census Bureau geographic shapes. It seemed that at some point in the development of door hanger marketing our industry came to a proverbial “fork in the road.” Down one road was USPS geographies and the other was Census geographies.

 

At first we thought nothing of it. However, as we began to add employees who had formerly worked at direct mail companies to our data team, we began to learn the distinction between different types of data as well as nuances about specific providers. As a result we inquired with our census based data providers regarding the accuracy of their base counts and they literally would not and could not give us any indication of how accurate their data was. The Census Bureau even goes so far as putting a “Margin of Error” next to each statistic they offer because they cannot verify their data. As you can imagine we were shocked: These providers were some of the biggest in the industry and yet they did not know how precise their data was.

 

In response to this realization we hit the phones. We interviewed front door marketing industry executives and found that the reason door hanger marketing companies went down the Census road was because they felt that the base count and targeting data they were procuring was accurate enough — and more importantly, the shapes of the Census boundaries were easier to navigate in the field by door-to-door walkers. They were right about one thing: Census boundaries are easy to navigate and supervise. What they didn’t realize is that the accuracy of the data they were using was not very good at all. Census data is surveyed information instead of verified information. At that point we found ourselves at the same fork in the road. Because we are fanatical about getting our base counts as accurate as possible we opted for the harder to deliver, yet highly precise postal geographies.