The New Alternative
“Alternative prospecting strategies” almost seems like an oxymoron. The lines between traditional and alternative prospecting approaches have blurred — today all marketing is driven by multichannel consumers. So let’s define “alternative” as media other than mailing print catalogs to rented lists or paid search. Yes, we need to lump in paid search with traditional print mailings because search has become mainstream and is no longer considered an “alternative.”
But what’s a cataloger to do if, as Marc Coan, owner of Made in New Mexico, points out, you want to come up with another way to prospect? “We have the infrastructure in place,” he notes. “How do you get to the next level?”
Alternative prospecting media includes radio, TV, inserts, space ads, newspaper free-standing inserts (FSIs), affiliate networks, banner ads, public relations and even billboards. Consider such media if the following is taking place:
• Traditional prospecting methods aren’t yielding sufficient new customers;
• tapping new audiences through list rental isn’t feasible; or
• you’re looking to expand your portfolio to gain a competitive edge by developing a range of effective prospecting to protect your brand from negative impacts in any one media.
If one or more of the above resonates for you, the next hurdle to contend with is the planning process. Determine whether to budget a specific amount of money or a percentage of your marketing budget.
Most marketers include media testing as part of their overall testing budgets. A reasonable rule of thumb is to allocate 20 percent of your budget to testing new media, other creative or offers.
Package Inserts Produce
For the brands under 1-800-Flowers.com — including 1-800-Flowers, Plow & Hearth, The Popcorn Factory, Cheryl&Co., Wind & Weather, The Wine Tasting Network, HearthSong and Magic Cabin — the company employs package inserts, FSIs, radio, TV and less mainstream alternative media, such as billboards.