How to Prospect More Effectively (1,575 words)
Understand sporadic performance. If a list works sporadically, look for patterns. Perhaps your offer isn't appealing to those prospects at certain times of the year. If you see a pattern, limit when you mail to maximize the list's performance.
Keep an eye on exchange balances. If you're in a highly competitive market, this is an essential point. Often, your best lists won't rent to you if the exchange balances get out of whack. It's important to monitor these exchange balances yourself to avoid getting turned down and unexpectedly falling short on names.
Keep relationships open … always. Develop and maintain a good relationship with the list owners with whom you work on a regular basis. Sometimes, this occurs directly. Other times these relationships are formed through your broker or list manager.
Prospecting requires a good balance of different lists. You need the fresh names that individual outside lists can supply. Although cooperative databases are updated, the member companies may not send their file updates as frequently as they should. What's more, the co-ops select only multi-buyers, while individual outside lists include the single or one-time buyers who also may be good prospects for your offer.
Modeled names normally perform at or slightly better than your best outside prospect lists. Again, the performance will tend to decline after the first few highly indexed segments. The top segments are the real winners, while additional outside lists will be needed for continued growth.
Stephen R. Lett is president of Lett Direct, a catalog consulting firm specializing in marketing, circulation planning, forecasting and analysis. He can be reached at (302) 541-0608 or by e-mail at email@example.com.