What You Should Know About Using Lists
Last month, I discussed the importance of the merge/purge. This month, I’ll examine what goes into a list merge and what you should know about using outside prospect lists.
I’ll review what to look for when testing a new list, how to expand your prospecting universe maximizing contribution performance and important considerations when starting a new catalog.
Planning your circulation strategy from the bottom up and knowing how to prospect is critical to the success of any catalog.
Questions to Ask When Examining a New File
How actively is the mailer prospecting? When testing a list for the first time, it’s always a good idea to determine the list owner’s 0-to-6-month file size as a percentage of its 0-to-12-month file.
If the 0-to-6-month file size is greater than 50 percent of its total 12-month buyer file, the list owner is actively prospecting and adding new names to the housefile. This should be a top consideration when deciding which lists to test, because it means the file is fresh and full of active mail-order catalog buyers. This also is important when planning list continuations; you want to target outside lists that are prospecting and growing themselves.
How well is the list maintained? Be sure the files you use are updated and regularly run through the proper list hygiene. Run NCOA (National Change of Address) on every prospect list going into your merge. This gives you an idea of how well the list owners maintain their files.
What list selections are available? Often, the list selections shown on a data card don’t include all of the selects available. For example, you may be able to select or omit based on product category information, demographics or seasonal purchase. While select charges add to your costs, the lift in response you may get can justify the expense.