Catalogers are Turning to the Co-op Databases for Prospecting
3. Don't second-guess the data. Wunderman says sometimes a co-op's modeling yields results that catalog clients just don't expect. "It can be tempting for a cataloger to say, 'This isn't what we know to be true about our customers. We don't think this is right.' But that's the exciting part of this process," she continues. "The data can reveal hidden opportunities for marketing. [Catalogers] have to give us an opportunity to prove it out. I say, 'Let us test it, and see where it leads.'"
4. Share information—including all results. On the front end, co-ops want to know as much about your business as you're willing to share. Among the data to share with your co-op: statistics such as average order size; seasonality of your business; whether your audience is homogeneous or dichotomous; and, says Wunderman, "in what direction the cataloger wants to grow."
Expect a more profitable relationship with your co-op alliance partners if you provide sufficient information, both in the form of what was mailed and the results of those mailings, adds Imbierowicz. He also suggests you share your mail files with your co-op provider. "With all of this information, we can get a better understanding of the results."
To facilitate data-sharing, he recommends that mailers transfer information electronically. "The faster we can get results and mailing information from our members, the faster we can act on it."
5. Demand quality service. "The level of customer service, quality control and follow-up by a customer service or sales rep handling the account can make the difference in whether or not their list grows to be a significant part of a cataloger's mailing," asserts Belardi.
Schmid concurs and suggests this strategy: "Push the individual customer service rep you're working with to find and develop different segments and models." Ask questions, such as: "What have other clients found to work?"