Print-Plus: All Hands on Deck
In order for catalogers to get through these tough times and keep their prospect names at the highest level, it's imperative everyone stays with each co-op.
Outside List Performance
Maximize outside list performance by increasing the response rate, average order size or both. I prefer to focus on improving the response rate because it yields more new buyers, thereby growing your 12-month buyer file faster.
Don't be concerned about trying to increase the average order size to prospects, because it can come at the expense of response. When prospecting, the goal should be to add as many new buyers to the housefile as possible by maximizing response.
Select outside lists based on recency of last purchase. You also should maximize rollouts before testing new lists; double the usage each time if there's enough list universe. Looking for buyers who've purchased multiple times recently is also a good way to improve response.
After you maximize list continuations, fill in with the lists you want to test. Use marginal list optimization to improve outside list performance.
There are two ways to use list optimization: selection (used for premerge lists) and suppression (used postmerge to identify and suppress rental singles, i.e., one-time buyers). Both techniques use 10 percent to 20 percent of a given file.
Most catalogers choose their list selections based on what worked well last season and what's currently working. This isn't a "true" science because there are many factors that need to be considered when evaluating list performance. Just be certain you do the proper list analysis and use every technique possible to improve your list performance.
Stephen R. Lett is president of the catalog consulting firm Lett Direct (email@example.com).