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Hurricane Katrina’s effect on marketing
While the death and destruction left by Hurricane Katrina has been deeply painful for us as a nation, with the recovery effort now in full swing, the rebuilding and healing process can finally begin.
Unfortunately, with the advent of Hurricane Rita, it’s important that you again be sure to remove all addresses in the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi from any outgoing mailings so that your list data will not be permanently altered.
Email addresses in these same areas should also be temporarily taken off of your lists. People in affected areas may not have access to regular email for days or weeks. Their inboxes may quickly fill and send an auto-bounce message, which means that your list management system could automatically unsubscribe them from your list. Losing these addresses could be permanently harmful to your business.
Therefore, if you have an integrated database and can identify which of your email opt-ins are in the affected regions, you should use USPS zip guidelines to segment your files.
Or, if you don’t have real-world addresses to work off of, ask your database manager to segment names by geography using IP addresses. It’s best to wait until the tragedy has passed before placing those addresses back on your list.
There is, as with Katrina, a significant danger that Rita may continue to depress response rates on new mailings sent anywhere this week. History shows that when people are fixated on the drama of an impending hurricane, their minds will not be on our own marketing efforts.
Furthermore, if it turns out that Rita causes any significant destruction, then expect severely decreased results similar to what has happened because of Katrina.
Our hearts and prayers go out to those directly affected by these horrible disasters.
P.S. Unfortunately, it appears that Katrina will cause the USPS’ long-proposed 5.4% rate hike to go into effect in January 2006. This is much earlier than previously expected, a result of the $100 million worth of infrastructure damage the Postal Service sustained.
P.P.S. Many people think that because the government is now involved with the rebuilding effort, more aid is not needed. This is simply not true! Now that the rebuilding effort is ready to begin in earnest, even more help is needed, especially with the potential damage Rita could cause.