How to Get the Most From Cooperative Databases
Co-op databases provide a valuable source of quality names for many product offers. For most small- and medium-sized catalog companies, 50 percent or more of prospecting circulation goes to names selected from such databases. Prospect names selected from co-ops are a good value for the money.
Why? First, the names are selected according to a model, which means they resemble your own customer database. Second, the names rent for less than most outside response lists. They’re “net” of your housefile, which translates to a lower cost per net name. Co-ops may appear to be about half the cost of outside lists, but in reality, names from a co-op are about one-third the cost, again because they’re net of your housefile.
Some co-ops can base models on variables created from SKU-level data — a real advantage that’s reflected in the revenue realized per catalog mailed. Each co-op starts its model from a different database structure, resulting in unique variables to study. And each co-op creates its models using different methodologies. So while there’s a significant overlap of names through co-ops, the modeling techniques they use can select different individuals for mailing. One co-op may identify good prospect names that another co-op missed. The objective in working with multiple co-ops is to find those hidden prospects.
To get the most out of co-ops, work with them as a partner as well as an extension of your marketing team. Share your goals and results with them. Co-ops supply prospect names. But the quality of the names obtained can be enhanced by working more closely with them, and their resources can be applied creatively to improve your housefile and prospect-name performance from vertical lists.
Seven Proven Strategies
• Outside list optimization. All mailing lists contain some households whose overall buying patterns aren’t typical of the other households on that list. For example, a high-end gift list may contain prospects who bought for a special occasion, but generally buy from lower-end catalogs. Optimization is the process of matching vertical list names against a co-op database and scoring them with co-op targeting tools. This identifies households that don’t otherwise fit the desired buying patterns. These less-productive names then can be suppressed from the mailing, and the response rate from a particular list will improve as a result.