What You Should Know About Using Lists
Understand your demographics and customer base. Don’t try to use your list selection to change your customer base. You can’t appeal to a different audience without changing your merchandising, and you shouldn’t abandon your existing customer base. In other words, you won’t appeal to a younger
audience simply by mailing younger lists.
Look beyond standard performance indicators. In addition to response rate, average order size and revenue per catalog, look at performance indexes. Then, if a list over- or under-performs, you’ll know the relative performance of that list compared with other lists you’re using. This will help you plan for and evaluate list perform-ances overall.
Understand sporadic performance. If it appears that a list is working only sporadically, try to look for a few patterns. It could be that your offer isn’t appealing to a particular list only at certain times of the year. Or it may be that the customers the list owner brings onto the file don’t, at times, find your offer of interest. Either way, if you see a pattern, you can limit when you mail the file to help ensure success.
Watch exchange balances. If you’re in a highly competitive market, this step is essential. Often your best lists won’t let you use their files if the exchange balance is out of line. Be your own monitor in this case, so you don’t get caught short on names (particularly good names) unexpectedly.
Keep relationships open. It’s always favorable to have a good relationship with the list owners you work with and who are important to you. Sometimes this happens directly, or sometimes your list broker or list manager is your representative. Conferences are a good place to get this started.
If you’re starting a new catalog or spinning off a new title, here are some important considerations: