State of the Co-ops ’07
With the postal rate increase in effect and the marketplace demonstrating fierce competition, catalogers are seeking more efficient ways to handle the database information they accumulate. Certainly, there’s no shortage of companies that offer to streamline the process, but how do mailers know which of them is best for their needs? Here (in alphabetical order) is what the nation’s eight cooperative database firms are doing this year to set themselves apart.
Acquired by marketing technology firm Epsilon earlier this year, Abacus recently launched its next generation solution, Abacus ONE, based on the company’s current proven modeling system. “We have taken what was working really well and made it even better for performance and consistency over time,” explains Casey Carey, senior vice president of alliance data services at Abacus.
There are currently 400 tests in the mail using Abacus ONE. Approximately 50 clients have rolled out more than 100 campaigns on it. On average, Carey reports, cataloger users are experiencing a 14 percent increase on dollars per book, a 9 percent increase in response and 56 percent greater mailable universes.
Carey defines Abacus ONE as more of a methodology than a product, providing a way to improve the consistency of models over time. “One of the things that always seems to come back on co-op databases in general is that they’re not consistent,” he observes. “Many times, when we peel back the layers, it wasn’t anything we were doing; it was that something else had changed — either the offer or the target market, or something else. We wanted to use modeling technology to create better consistency.”
ALEXA, which stands for the American List Exchange Association, is an alliance of mailers rather than a conventional co-op database firm. It was established last year to give catalogers the ability to leverage more exchanges. Participants can forward names in their databases to a central network and control the access other catalogers have to these names.