You can target by cities or regions and rent the businesses’ phone numbers for a coordinated outbound sales effort to coincide with catalog mailings. (When renting phone numbers, speak with your list broker to understand the parameters of their use.)
• SIC/NAICS codes.
Renting by SIC/NAICS codes is hardly new, but there’s a new twist to the process. You now can have your housefile analyzed for these business codes and receive information regarding the number of employees, estimated sales and other “firmographic” data for your housefile.
With this additional information, you now can rent prospective names that are more like your customer base. This is a significant improvement over simply mailing by SIC codes. A number of vendors, including Donnelley Marketing, offer services such as this.
• Vendor-supplied lists.
Your product vendors may be a rich source of free lists. Often prospective customers will contact manufacturers directly regarding their products. These manufacturers send product information to the prospects, but since they don’t sell directly to end users, the marketing communication stops. These names can yield potential customers, but they vary in quality.
• Create your own.
More catalogers are resorting to a labor-intensive, albeit effective, prospecting technique. They create their own prospect lists by searching the Internet for potential customers. If you sell specialty automotive parts supplies to muscle car shops, for example, you would search on keywords to locate individual muscle car shops throughout the county.
This technique only works for niche B-to-B marketers, since very specific types of businesses require their products. For many mailers, this technique should be a last resort. But for smaller catalogers on a budget, it can yield good results.
u Talk to your broker. Working with a list broker remains one of the best ways to find new prospective lists. An open discussion with the broker, combined with the willingness to test some of its ideas, will go a long way to opening up new possibilities for your business.
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.