How to Prospect More Effectively (1,575 words)
Compiled lists are used successfully by b-to-b mailers that want to target, for example, specific business sectors known as Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC). Consumer mailers who test compiled lists should model these lists prior to mailing to identify the mail-order catalog buyers. Adding this step will increase results while minimizing the risk of mailing to compiled names.
Questions to Answer When Testing a New List
How actively is the list owner prospecting? If the mailer's zero-to-six-month file size is more than 50 percent of its 12-month housefile, the list owner is actively prospecting itself and bringing new buyers onto the file. This should be a top consideration when looking at new lists to tests, because it means they're keeping their file fresh and full of active catalog buyers. (This also applies to list continuations.)
How well is the file maintained? Be sure the lists are updated and run through list-hygiene programs regularly. Although it's important to run NCOA on every prospect going into your mailing, knowing if the list owner runs hygiene on its file will give you insight as to how well the list is maintained.
What selections are available? Can you select by recency, monetary value, etc.? Often, the selections noted on the list owner's data card are not the only ones available. For example, you may be able to select (or omit) based on product category, demographics or seasonal purchases. Caution: Don't make the selects too tight. And don't pay for selects you don't need. Select charges are expensive, and they add considerably to the total cost of a list rental.
That said, some selects do work. Compare the additional per thousand cost ($XX/M) for the select against the resulting gain. Shown in the chart, "Examples of Using a Dollar Select," are the actual results from a test with and without a dollar select. Note: This is an example only and is meant to illustrate the effect of using a dollar select.