That’s not me


A few weeks ago, I started getting junk mail for someone who has a last name that sounds a little bit like mine. However, their first name doesn’t match anybody in my family. I’ve been returning this mail to the sender, since there’s no way it’s for me or anyone I know. Yet they keep sending more, despite clear indications that the recipient doesn’t live at my address.

This behavior suggests the offending marketer is quite desperate. Forget about list quality: these guys are sending out catalogs and mailers to people whose names merely sound like the original target. Does this actually convert to more sales? I highly doubt it, as I have nothing in common with the mystery man who has a few letters in common with my name.

How about this approach: when names vary from your list by more than a letter or two, just assume they aren’t related. Drop that record, and focus on fresher entries that have some behavioral component, like those who bought from you before. And no matter what you do, if one of those low-quality name matches generates a lot of returned mail, save your money and stop sending mail to that person. They probably don’t exist.