Six Circulation Tactics to Try
Analyze Your Current — Not Past — Customer Base
You don’t use outdated response data to build your circulation plan. Rather, you use the most current response data available, right? So why do many catalogers depend on studies that are several years old to define their customers?
A comprehensive analysis of your current customers’ job titles and SIC codes for the companies they represent can provide valuable insight. The more you know about your best customers, the more effective you’ll be at reaching others like them.
For example, say you’ve been targeting 25 percent of your circulation to computer analysts; this is based on the people you thought would make the best customers for your products. But a new job-title study reveals that computer analysts make up only 10 percent of your total customer file. That is, computer analysts may have comprised 25 percent of your file a few years ago but not today.
This scenario is relatively common. New test lists, shifts in your merchandise mix or even creative changes can alter your buyer profile over time. Circulation quantities, percentage of prospecting and frequency of merchandise mix adjustments will determine how often you should gather this information. Look at the data again, especially if you’ve recently made any major changes.
Determine Your True Responders
Imagine this scenario: You got an amazing response on a list you tested. The datacard defined the demographic as 70-percent engineering managers, so that must be the audience you captured, right? Not necessarily.
To determine who actually responded, not just who was mailed, compile job titles by source code. This exercise could reveal that although you mailed to a list claiming to be mostly engineering managers, 80 percent of your new customers generated from the list were, say, design engineers.
Knowing who is responding from various lists will allow you to select future lists based on the right audience. For example, instead of searching for additional generic engineering management lists to test, in the above scenario you’d focus your efforts on finding the more specific design engineering lists or selects. The more information you have, the better you’re able to target.