Catalogers are Turning to the Co-op Databases for Prospecting
6. Work with a broker. Abacus still chooses not to work with brokers. But today more brokers are willing to participate in the co-op process.
What can a broker bring to the table? First, a broker can be helpful to a cataloger in managing the various co-op database relationships, says Belardi. Whether or not a broker places the orders, "There's still much to be learned when both vendors sit in a room to discuss and share analysis regarding their mutual client's prospecting plans."
Second, brokers may offer unique insights. With many of her catalog clients channeling up to 50 percent of their prospecting to co-ops, Belardi says she knows of potential pitfalls such as saturation, and can suggest solutions such as mailing lower model segments, which sometimes outperform what should be the best models.
While Crutchfield chooses to work directly with the catalog alliances, Michie says, "Our broker has been helpful in letting us know what's new out there in terms of lists, and has done a great deal of work getting mailers to allow their lists to be modeled by the co-ops."
New Ways to Use Co-ops
In addition to providing a huge prospect pool, co-op databases can be a resource for housefile modeling and outside list optimization.
Crutchfield has benefited from marketing insight reports generated by co-ops. "It gives us some ideas, for example, for space ad placement, and also helps us select outside list rentals that go beyond our typical universe," Michie says. For instance, Crutchfield found that its customers tend to buy men's shoes from catalogs—a connection it otherwise wouldn't have made.
Co-ops also are helping their members by acting as a filter on outside lists. Abacus' Optimization services enable you to select only the most responsive names on a particular list. The Optimization models ensure that you select active mail-order buyers with a proven affinity for a specific offer by ranking the list's names from least likely to respond to most likely to respond.