Hitting an in-home date occurs when over 90% of a direct mail campaign hits mailboxes within a three-day window. When a mailing takes place, a printer with significant expertise will stagger the distribution, by destination, based on transit times, so that approximately 90% of the total mailing reaches all customers and prospects within three days of each other. This means that a customer living in California will receive his or her piece within three days of someone living in New York.
Why is this important? Marketers rely on their promotions to arrive in specific date ranges in order to effectively coordinate with other channels and stimulate sales during the desired promotional period. When they have confidence in the delivery date of their direct mail campaign, they can coordinate all other marketing channels to be focused around specific dates and lead to an improved overall campaign performance. This will allow for the highest possible return on investment. It also allows companies to provide staff for call centers or retail locations to handle the increase in demand. The marketer also has the ability to take advantage of regional or national dates that are significant for the brand.
Unfortunately, it is hard for most printers to execute against an in-home date. Printers will classically tell you that they can’t “control” the post office. In reality, they need to manage shipments so that they enter at the correct entry point in the mail system on the correct dates. This will guarantee the in-home date arrival range. USPS gets a bad rap. However, their process and timing are very predicable when a company with good knowledge of postal logistics is engaged.
When you are planning your next direct mail campaign, have a conversation with your printer about in-home dates. Ask how frequently they are completing mailings that involve trucking. Then follow up with a report showing in-home date performance. The only way to achieve strong results is with strong processes and automation.