Machines are great. They can produce direct mail pieces quickly and reliably but sometimes … stuff happens. They break down. They jam up. There’s a misfeed. And for the majority of direct mail campaigns, it’s not a big deal when this happens. The jammed stock is counted as spoilage, the machine is reset, and production continues.
But for some direct mail campaigns, this is a big deal. They can’t afford the spoilage because the contained information is so sensitive that 100% accuracy is imperative. They contain account numbers, healthcare information, or may be legally required to be mailed to all stakeholders.
Luckily, there are ways to ensure your sensitive data marketing campaigns are 100% accurate.
The Right Stuff
Making sure your direct mail vendors have the right equipment to match the security and accuracy parameters of your campaign should be at the top of your list. Depending on your project, you will want to make sure they have camera-match inserting, read and print capabilities, variable page accumulating, and inserters with output verification reporting.
The first three options use 2D barcodes to make sure the correct inserts are going in the correct envelope. But machines with output verification reporting take it a step further. These systems use barcodes and cameras to identify and report double stuffs, insertion errors, and missing envelopes midstream. They also provide real-time audit reporting down to the record level so you can be confident your mailing is 100% accurate.
Backed by the Best
It may seem obvious but if you have a direct mail campaign with sensitive variable data being printed, you want to make sure your vendors have a team of experienced programmers on staff to handle your data and set up those projects with the utmost care.
The same holds true with the team running the machines. How long have they been employed? How experienced are they? What type of training do they receive? Are background checks regularly conducted? Ask questions and get a clear understanding of their employee vetting process.
All direct mail and print vendors should have quality control measures in place. But if you’re considering a vendor to produce campaigns containing sensitive data, it stands to reason that their quality control measures be held to the highest standard.
Do they have audits and controls in place to ensure the integrity of your project throughout the production stream? Will they be willing to accommodate extra quality control measures should you decide to require them? Can they produce audits and reports that verify the accuracy of your campaigns?
Setting the Standards
Now more than ever, data security is a real business concern as evidenced by the too-often news reports of data breaches. Always err on the side of caution: after all, you are responsible and liable for the safety of your company’s data. Make sure you’re entrusting it to a partner who has strict security standards in place.
Your direct mail partner’s quality control processes, and physical and data security standards should be independently reviewed and certified by a third party to ensure they’re current and adequate for the services being provided. Examples of compliances to look for include SOC2, HIPAA (for healthcare information) and PCI (if you have credit card data).
Get a Handle on Your Data
Speaking of data, consider how it’s being handled by your direct mail vendor:
- Is it encrypted?
- Is it being stored on separate and secure servers?
- How long are they storing your data?
- Do they have secure facilities to limit the access to servers or the final, physical direct mail pieces?
Streamworks is a marketing communications partner who takes security as seriously as you do with the secure solutions for your mail production, data management, and digital marketing requirements.
Download our free Direct Mail Production Checklist to ensure your next project is produced on time, on budget, and according to plan.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015. It has been updated for freshness, clarity, and comprehensiveness.