It is vitally important to make sure every mail piece has the best chance to produce the desired result. The extra money an organization spends to get messages to their audience via the mail makes eliminating waste a critical objective. Adding intelligence related to location data is an often overlooked strategy that can decrease costs and also improve response.

When proximity to a physical location or ease of travel will influence campaign success then geolocation data can reduce waste and improve a campaign's return on investment. Print and mail service providers and in-house document operations departments can help their customers apply geolocation strategies and improve their mail campaigns.

Location, location, location

Location is a concern for almost every brick and mortar establishment. Years ago marketers addressed this requirement by purchasing mailing lists filtered by zip codes. Today, those selections can be more precise, based on an established radius distance from the store's location.

Distance doesn't tell the whole story though. A prospective customer might live a mile away, but getting from their house to the establishment might include a 5 mile detour to the nearest bridge crossing the river that separates them from the store. Driving time might also be a factor. Suggesting a drive to a more distant location might be more appealing than promoting a nearby site that requires sitting in traffic during rush hour.

What if the target audience relies on public transportation or event promoters are recommending public transit because of limited parking? You might want to provide prospects within the targeted area but too far from stations, terminals, or stops with alternative travel recommendations, or drop them from the mailing entirely.

Eliminating recipients unlikely to respond to an offer because of inconvenient location will reduce production and mailing costs and improve overall campaign performance. This is just as effective as suppressing undeliverable addresses or eliminating duplicates.

Variable Incentives

Mailers can even use geolocation data to tailor an offer or message. It might make sense to vary the value of an offer according to the prospective customer's travel time or distance. Customers who can conveniently make the trip to a new grocery store might receive a coupon for a free gallon of milk. Those further away might be offered the milk and a package of cookies. Taking location data into account, the marketer can avoid giving free cookies to customers willing to visit the store for just the milk. The mail service provider can lower the cost of the promotion and increase the ROI.

Mail has an advantage over many other channels. There is less clutter, no filters, and customers retain physical mail longer than digital alternatives. Finding ways to make the mail even better using tactics such as geolocation can help mail service providers and in-plants convince their customers their investments in mail are worth continuing.

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants. He writes constantly about topics of interest to the communications industry. Visit and sign up for his free newsletters written especially for document industry professionals.