There are two lists that you, key members of your marketing team, and other key company personnel should be on: your house list and your rental list, if you have one.
Including the names of employees on those lists—referred to as “seeding”—has several benefits:
· Allows better tracking and evaluation. Your mailhouse will give you official forms that tell you exactly when a mailpiece drops, and you have a general idea when your recipients will receive it. But unless your name is on the mailing list, you won’t know exactly how long each piece takes to arrive and, just as importantly, what shape it arrives in. You won’t know how well that paper stock you chose held up to the rigors of the post office, and you won’t know how well your mailpiece stands out (or, eeek!, doesn’t stand out) from the rest of your mail.
· Keeps others in the loop. If you have business partners, satellite offices, or other out-of-office personnel who need to know exactly what marketing is mailing out and when, including them on the seed list is an easy way to make that happen.
· Keeps others honest. When you rent your list to an outside company, you sign an agreement and assume the company will comply with all conditions. Seeding your list helps you monitor the use of that list so that you can be sure no unauthorized usages or once-approved-but-now-altered mailpieces are being sent to your list.
How do you know your renters won’t remove your names? Don’t make it obvious which names are employees. Instead of using your company address, include your employees’ home addresses or even their home addresses with their spouses’ names. You could also enter each employee into the list with a misspelled last name or an incorrect middle initial—something your employees will recognize as their seed names so that they can identify rented mailings quickly and definitively.
· Provides industry insight. Receiving your renters’ promotions also gives you a little more insight into their strategy and decision-making process. For example, what stock did they use? How well did their promotions stand up and out in the mailbox?
· Helps identify design issues. With the help of your printer and mailhouse, there should be no surprises when it comes to the final look of your direct mail piece. However, the delivered mailpiece, with its address label or postage, may not look as good to you as your unmailed version. You may find that your teaser copy crowds the address more than you’d like or a key phone number gets covered up by the barcode. Catching these issues on seed mailings keeps you from making the same mistake on others.
Seeding your list and checking those seeds may not rank high in your priority list, but make sure it’s on your radar at least once a year, if not more.