Crain's Gets Down to Business With New Data Processing Method

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Crain's New York Business cut its usual amount of undeliverable mail by more than half for a February direct mail campaign after switching to a new data hygiene provider and taking other steps to improve the quality of its database.

Crain's New York Business selected data processing vendor Creative Automation in January to provide list hygiene services.

"One of the reasons we switched vendors was because, with our old vendors, the number of nixies we were getting was higher than we should have," said Paul Yager, circulation manager, Crain's New York Business.

About 100 pieces from the 170,000-piece mailing in February were returned because of bad addresses, he said. Comparable mailings had been generating 300 to 400 such pieces.

Crain's New York Business, published by Crain Communications Inc., New York, is a weekly newspaper focusing on New York-area business news for senior executives and entrepreneurs. It covers all industry sectors including real estate, finance, advertising, hospitality, business services and technology as well as city politics. The circulation is 63,000, with 93 percent coming from subscriptions.

Crain's considered seven vendors before selecting Creative Automation, Hillside, IL. Besides a lower cost, Crain's chose Creative Automation for the hygiene methods of its Business Profiler product.

Business Profiler uses a combination of tables and files to review each address-related field to determine, validate and correct data location. For example, if a business name is in the personal name field, it relocates the name to the business name field. The benefits include better matching in the address standardization and merge/purge processes, improved postal coding percentages and a better presentation of a prospect or customer's name and address on the marketing piece.

"The Business Profiler corrects names, addresses and titles, which ultimately better prepares the records for processes such as merge/purge," Yager said.

With the addresses run through the Business Profiler, Creative Automation ran a merge/purge, which found duplicates among the lists and suppressed those names and addresses from the new subscription names and addresses.

The direct mail piece sent in February promoted a special subscription cost of $39.95. The offer, which came in a 9.5-by-4-inch envelope, included an order form and a note from publisher Alair A. Townsend explaining that "now, more than ever, solid information is vital to business survival and success." Each year, Crain's sends 1 million similar pieces to generate new subscriptions.

In addition to Crain's New York Business, Creative Automation said it would perform similar processing for Crain's Chicago Business, Crain's Detroit Business and Crain's Cleveland Business.


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