Catalogers are Turning to the Co-op Databases for Prospecting
By Alicia Orr Suman
With fewer hotline names and a scarcity of new rental lists to test, catalogers have been faced with a drought of new names to mail this year.
Seeking ways to beef up their mail plans with quality names at the lowest possible cost, more catalogers appear to be tapping into cooperative catalog databases.
Catalog co-ops have been around for more than a decade. But only recently have some reached the size and scope needed to become a substantial piece of your prospecting plan—making many catalogers more apt to ramp up usage of this alternative source of lists.
"There's certainly been a greater receptivity to the concept of co-op databases," confirms Lynn Wunderman, president/CEO of the I-Behavior catalog co-op. "It's a more challenging environment [today]. Mailers are getting more stringent about outside list usage."
Peter O'Neil, senior vice president and general manager at Experian Marketing Service, says he also is seeing increasing interest for his firm's Z-24 co-op database. "We're getting clients ordering more names, testing more cells, rolling out more," he notes.
One reason mailers turn to other solutions for their prospecting and customer file challenges, says Paul Imbierowicz, vice president of product management at Abacus, is that, "It's important to optimize everything you do, especially in a challenging economy."
An Integral Part of the Mix
Many catalogers confirm that co-ops have become an integral part of their prospecting programs. For example, Charlie Silver, vice president of marketing for Bloomingdale's by Mail, says co-ops now represent up to 20 percent of the catalog's prospecting circulation. "Prospecting is a challenge for us, as there have been relatively few new catalogs in the mail that could add to our pool of prospect targets," Silver explains. Blooming-dale's by Mail is using balance models and hotline names more effectively than in the past, he reports.