SOURCE: Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

March 10, 2008 13:04 ET

The Dirt on Direct Mail: Marketers Boost Revenues and Cut Costs While Reducing Environmental Waste

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - March 10, 2008) - In the new benchmark report, "Green Marketing: Leveraging Customer Data to Reduce Direct Mail Waste," the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), found that companies are facing ever-growing concerns from consumers and others about the environmental impact of their direct mail solicitations. In fact, 40% of companies surveyed ranked direct mail waste reduction as one of the top two areas of focus when it comes to adopting more eco-friendly business practices.

The research was conducted, in part, to gauge industry readiness with respect to the Direct Marketing Association's "Green 15" resolution. The DMA passed the resolution last May and announced that in June of this year it will establish environment improvement goals for member companies in several key areas, including consumer list hygiene and customer data management.

"Customer data has long played a key role in driving marketing improvement in terms of both revenue growth and cost reduction," said Jeff Zabin, Research Fellow at Aberdeen. "Today more companies are also waking up to the value of customer data in the context of direct mail waste reduction, which, it turns out, is also becoming an economic imperative."

The Aberdeen report provides a roadmap for companies that aim to better achieve their green marketing objectives through Best-in-Class use of customer data management and related capabilities. These capabilities speak to the need to capture, integrate, cleanse, analyze, and act upon customer data, with a specific focus on customer data quality.

With respect to the DMA's suggested "action steps" related to data hygiene and mailing accuracy, Aberdeen found that 50% of Best-in-Class companies, compared to 40% of Laggards, currently merge/purge customer data "thoroughly." Nearly twice as many Best-in-Class companies as Laggards plan to start doing so in the future. Of the 54% of companies that use segmentation and modeling to "select with care" which customer names to be mailed to, only 47% of Laggards indicated that they do it "very well," compared to 83% of Best-in-Class companies.

The report emphasizes the dual benefit of helping shareholders achieve their financial objectives while mitigating the impact of direct mail activities on the environment. It shows that direct mail waste reduction is an area where environmental concerns and shareholder interests coincide. With respect to the latter, 85% of Best-in-Class companies experience year-over-year improvement in customer retention levels, compared to 5% of Laggards. And Best-in-Class companies have achieved a 266% improvement in customer profitability compared to Laggards.

The research educates readers on how to increase revenues, cut costs, and reduce environmental waste by adopting key enabling technologies and implementing various strategic actions and organizational capabilities.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: QAS, an Experian company, and DM Review. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4635.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

© 2008 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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