Five Ways to Make List Selects Work Harder for You
“List universes have shrunk, no doubt about it. And the economic climate is tougher than it has been in years for many catalogers, especially smaller niche titles like Design Toscano,” says Erik Martinez, the catalog’s vice president of marketing and information technology.
So for Design Toscano, a home furnishings cataloger based near Chicago, looking for prospect lists with similar affinities is like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Where have all the good prospect lists gone?
“Some catalogs went under, while others responded to the economic climate by expanding into broader merchandise offerings,” Martinez notes. “That doesn’t help us, because we’ve stayed in our niche. We don’t want to reach the broader markets like apparel buyers.”
One strategy Design Toscano has tried: Target the best names on those remaining lists by using the right mix of selections.
Get Better Response Rates
As a catalog merchant, you have several strategies you can employ to help make the selections you choose on prospecting lists pull better. Catalog Success asked several list brokers and catalog merchants to share some of the current tactics that are working.
1. Make sure the selects you pull are meaningful. Every selection must be weighed against its cost and potential benefit. Donna Belardi, president of list company ALC of New York, says, “When selecting, mailers need to make sure they’re focused on cost per thousand. Very often even a 10 to 15 percent bump up in response can be offset by excessive select charges.” So while you may get excited about the higher response rate you’re getting, it may not be worth all you’re spending to get there.
Cheryl Bagdan, senior account executive at Statlistics, a list brokerage and management company based in Danbury, Conn., suggests: “Ask yourself, is that select really something worth paying for, or is it something inherent in the file’s makeup?” Examples of selects that may be unnecessary are dollar value and gender — if, for instance, most of a particular catalog’s buyers tend to be male or high-dollar value buyers anyway, Bagdan explains.