Prospecting: Teach an Old Trade New (and Not so New) Tricks
Prospecting at Potpourri Group
Jon Fleischman, CEO of multi-title cataloger Potpourri Group, shares his expertise on the company’s prospecting strategies. Potpourri mails Catalog Favorites, NorthStyle, Expressions, The Stitchery, Nature’s Jewelry, The Pyramid Collection, In The Company of Dogs, Back in the Saddle, Serengeti, Young Explorers and Whatever Works.
Catalog Success: Explain your prospect mailing strategy.
Jon Fleischman: We take a disciplined approach. For each catalog title, we calculate breakevens by season and maintain models of short- and mid-term customer value. We then determine, based in part on risk, an acceptable cut off for each source. These values are continually adjusted. We run the same analysis, whether we’re looking at prospects from one of our catalogs or from an outside source.
CS: Explain how seasonality figures in.
JF: A customer who comes on file in the spring has a higher 12-month value than a buyer acquired in the holiday season. This is due to different buying habits, as well as the fact that customers contribute most dramatically in the short term. In the case of the spring buyer, this happens to be the very strong holiday shopping season.
CS: What else is working for you today?
JF: Lots of co-mailing — and as a multi-title mailer, we’ve been doing it for 14 years. We’re also doing more versioning, often with different page counts, to optimize the offer made to each segment. We’re very cautious with promotions, though, given the potential for lower lifetime value.
Finally, I’m excited about our participation in [co-op database] ALEXA, as a relatively new prospecting tool. When it reaches critical mass, overlaying ALEXA RFM and demographic data onto list-specific selections should prove valuable.
Shari Altman is president of Altman Dedicated Direct, a direct marketing consultancy specializing in acquisition, continuity, DRTV and loyalty marketing. You can reach her at (336) 969-9538 or firstname.lastname@example.org.