Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Don't Let Sloppy Data, Proofing Spoil Your Mailing

Sophisticated data analytics and variable data printing are great tools for targeted political mailings--but they also make data quality and proofing essential to avoid mistakes that will cost dollars and votes. A recent post on The Campaign Workshop blog noted how data printing errors in an Arizona ballot cost that state tens of thousands of dollars in last year's election, and cited some practical ways to make sure your political mailings avoid a similar fate. Of course, the initial step that we would advise is to make sure you have updated, properly segmented and hygiened data files and mailing lists. As data professionals, it's one of our most important roles in working with campaigns and causes. But then we agree that mailers must build time in the production and mail schedule for the three key steps advised by the blog post. First, talk to your print and mail vendors before you start working on creative with a designer and data person. Direct mail production vendors have expertise in their equipment and can provide guidance about setting up art files and databases for best results. Second, get data to vendors as early as possible so they have time to alert you to problems before going to press. Third, ask for at least a dozen random set-up proofs before running the job, and cross-reference those proofs against the source data to be sure all variable data is in the right place and matches the source file. That's good advice from http://thecampaignworkshop.com/proofing-direct-mail/

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