In business-to-business (B-to-B), several key factors aside from traditional recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) values could play a significant role in the list selection process for both your prospect files and housefile. Taking the time to identify these factors can pay huge dividends in your response rates.
RFM should continue to play the paramount role in your list selections, but consider these additional house and prospecting list strategies that will help you in your marketing efforts.
Heed the X-factor
An X-factor is any variable that identifies a file segment not defined by RFM value criteria. X-factors don’t replace RFM; they supplement it.
Significant portions of many B-to-B catalogers’ housefiles actually are consumer. These catalogers commonly are referred to as hybrid mailers. If you’re a hybrid mailer, you first should consider selecting by customer type — business or consumer. If your database doesn’t have customer type as a selectable field, I highly recommend adding and clarifying this select.
The same RFM segments that are preselected by B-to-B vs. consumer customers respond quite differently from each other. Typically, the average order value for the B-to-B customer will be larger. This factor alone often allows for mailing deeper into the RFM selects for the B-to-B file.
Your B-to-B selects could provide an acceptable ROI into the fourth year of recency. But your consumer selects may be mailable for only half of that file depth.
Once you verify the mailable depth of your consumer file, cut back on mailing the consumer segments that aren’t delivering an acceptable ROI. Your lower mail quantity saves you money with minimal effect on your top line. You may, however, redirect your circulation from the weak performing consumer segments to a re-mail of your best performing B-to-B segments.
By Business Type
Regardless of whether you use traditional SIC/NAICS codes or have developed a unique system that further defines your customer base, selecting by business type can significantly improve results. If you sell medical supplies, for example, knowing whether a customer is buying for a hospital as opposed to a private doctor’s office could have significant impact on cover versioning and offers, which, in turn, could significantly improve response.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.