This Little Cheetah Went to Market: Six Secrets to Step Up Your Speed to Market

Speed to market is so important to today’s businesses. Being the first to communicate with clients and prospects—and make them aware of new offers, products and services—gives you the spotlight and momentum. If direct mail is crown land, then speed is king.

What is speed to market?

Speed to market refers to the time it takes to get your direct mail campaign through production and into mailboxes. When your ads arrive in mailboxes before your competitors, you have a distinct advantage in gaining a consumer’s business. Because they receive so many, people will usually choose the first offer they get.

How can you accelerate your speed to market?

If you want to be recognized as an innovator, you have to be the first one to the market. Being second makes you look like a follower or, worse, a copycat. Here are some tips for taking your speed up a tick or two:

1. Begin with clean data

Data hygiene, also known as data cleansing, is the process of finding and fixing bad records in a database and then replacing, changing or removing the “dirty data.” Delete duplicate addresses; sending two or more pieces of mail to the same address is a waste of money. Rather than just running a data hygiene check right before a mailing, maintenance should be done at least once every three months. That way your data will always be up-to-date and ready when you need it. You’ll avoid common problems like incomplete records and inactive contacts. Get rid of those bad addresses, and make a habit of keeping your list current.

2. Adopt modern best practices

Market research has been an integral part of launching successful products and services. Incorporate modern best practices for user research by taking advantage of any new technologies. This helps researchers gain user insights on market dynamics, usership and opportunities for growth, faster than ever before. Be sure to empower all of your decision makers to conduct research.

3. Presort

The postal system rewards those who make it so that their teams don’t have to sort through your mail. You’ll save time and money by presorting, or grouping your mail by zip code in the same bundle or tray. So postal presorting not only allows you to save marketing dollars by getting lower rates on your direct mail campaigns, but it can also improve your speed to market.

4. Consolidate

When you consolidate, you combine skids of your direct mail materials with other businesses’ mail, regardless of the size of the mailing. It’s a cost-effective solution that also provides targeted delivery windows, which can help to increase your campaign’s response rates and speed to market.

5. Commingle Digitally

Digitally commingled mailings are an effective way to increase speed to market and get the lowest possible postage rates. The more sorted and more concentrated the mail is when handed over to the post office, the greater the discount. Digital commingling saves time by allowing companies to skip the traditional commingling process of using sorting machines or sending their mail out to presort shops. By entering the mail stream farther down the delivery funnel, the mail takes less time to get through the USPS, and is in consumers' hands sooner.

6. Ship often, adapt quickly

The longer it takes to get your direct mail to market, the more likely your assumptions about your prospective customer will be outdated. Perpetual feedback you receive from your target market will help you make quick, small adjustments to keep you from veering off course. Choose speed over perfection; you may have the best offer but it won’t matter if another company gets there first. Analyze and track production and delivery results so you can make any necessary adjustments to future campaigns.

Need help executing these ideas? Wilen provides strategies for marketing, data and mailing that allow you to increase speed to market and improve your ROI. We take a unique and proven approach from concept and creative to production and delivery, giving you the best chance of success. Let's talk!

Published on March 17, 2020