The concept of “big data” can be a fuzzy one for some people, especially small business owners who are not yet taking advantage of data to power up their direct mail marketing.

In this article, we’re going to clarify the concept of data. Then, by showing examples of three kinds of companies and how they would employ data to their benefit, you should get the idea of how you can do the same to increase the number of ideal prospects you reach.

Putting Data into Focus

In any area of life—from a kitchen drawer to an international airport—there is data to be had. But some kinds of data are more important than others. For instance, data that has a bearing on topics like health, safety, and business are in the greatest demand.

People are a huge source of data. Some of it is demographic:

  • age
  • income
  • who they live with
  • how long they’ve lived there

Some is psychographic

  • lifestyles & interests
  • financial behavior
  • purchasing preferences
  • online behavior

Companies such as Nielsen collect this kind of data and create a huge range of customer profiles with it (which reflects the huge range of different kinds of people in the world).

Businesses can easily access this information and use it to target their direct mail offerings. Really smart companies can use it to further narrow down their target audience to the most ideal prospects.

Three Companies, Three Approaches to Data

If you’ve been in business for some time, you should already know a thing or two about your typical customer and your best customers. The more you already know, the more effectively you can utilize data to your benefit.

A little bit of data can go a long way. Here’s how three different types of businesses might do it:

  1. Local auto supply shop

A wide range of people might visit a neighborhood auto supply but the ideal customers—the ones who spend the most money the most often—are going to be (a) people who work on their own cars and (b) auto repair shops. It’s pretty easy to identify and reach (b) but what about (a)?

This is an indication of lifestyle, which services such as Neilsen PRIZM identify. So you can reach households that own tools and that are interested in DIY home and auto projects—the likely best prospects for auto parts.

  1. Financial planner/manager

Who uses financial planners or managers? People with money, of course, who can afford to pay a financial manager to look out for their wealth.

Data-wise, the financial planner is not interested in prospect lifestyle so much as income and financial behavior. They can focus on this area of data to target households above a certain income level, which also have significant investments, savings, etc.

  1. E-commerce business

Let’s take a business like Dollar Shave Club, which you can only purchase from via their website. Though some women buy their product, it’s marketed largely to men, mostly online.

Aside from gender, this business would take a big interest in prospects’ online behavior and purchasing habits more than anything else and would target households that are active internet users, connected with mobile devices, and who regularly make purchases online. (Yes, Nielsen even has that data.)


Eager to start getting more business with data? Log on to, where you can design a colorful, glossy postcard (with our pro templates or your own design) and choose a data set that will help you reach more of your ideal prospects.

Or, you could call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell us about your business. We’ll handle the design and create a custom data approach that will save you time and bring a higher ROI.