The new year is a time to start fresh, and one paper industry expert believes that this should include revisiting direct mail marketing recipient lists to ensure printed advertisements are going to the right people.

In a recent piece for Printing Impressions, Sabine Lenz – who operates a Web-based paper database and community for the industry – wrote that misdirected direct mail creates a number of negative consequences. For starters, it’s just plain annoying to those who receive it.

Lenz explained that for years, she has received a glossy, thick catalog from a bulk office supply provider, and despite her attempts to cancel the catalog, it arrives, without fail, every year.

“I don’t think I ever gave them my name. I don’t recall ever having done business with this company. Still … for more than four years now, they’ve mailed me their office supply catalog – all two and a half pounds of it,” she wrote.

This direct mail approach isn’t just a disservice to Lenz – it’s also costing the company serious money. Lenz did some research and noted that the provider is small enough in size that shipping a glossy catalog to a prospect that is clearly out of their target audience is costly, but the company would never know because it also does not track its direct mail campaign’s success or failure with any metrics.

Catalogs can be an effective way to engage an audience, and putting one together with professional binding equipment and laminating equipment can pay dividends. However, to maximize the investment in this approach, businesses should review and update their direct mail recipient list and consider data tracking to ensure these crucial marketing tools are reaching the right people.