Strategy: A Primer in the Basics of Catalog Circulation
Test lists that are out of category.
To expand your prospecting universe, find lists that work for your offer; these lists don’t necessarily need to be in your particular product category. This is a key consideration if you want to grow your business beyond the normal limitations of your primary market.
What other mailers are using the list?
Knowing this will give you an idea of how the list works for other mailers in your market. You can request usage on your continuations in order to develop your own test ideas.
How did the file net out in the merge?
If you’re mailing a list in your own product category, expect to net out of the merge at a similar rate to those lists you use on a continuing basis.
What if a test works?
When retesting a given list, gradually increase the number of names you take as you roll out. Resist the temptation to more than double the number of names you rent each time. Read the results of the retest before you test it again — the results may not hold up.
Once you make your housefile selections and determine your prospect lists, execute your circulation plan. Written instructions always should be given to your service bureau, which defines how the merge will be run. You run a merge primarily to identify and eliminate dupes from your mail file. A merge identifies two types of dupes: between files (known as interfile duplicates) and within a file (known as intrafile duplicates).
Here are a few rules to consider when executing a mail plan:
• Always put your housefile (your customers) in the top priority with the best-performing RFM groups at the top of the priority and the lower-
performing RFM cells at the bottom.■
• Sometimes you’ll only mail or re-mail a portion of your housefile. If the dupes within the housefile are random, you might drop a record that actually is from the higher RFM priority. By prioritizing your housefile, you’ll be sure to mail the best performers.
• Assign your housefile buyers to the same family groups so dupes within the housefile will be considered intrafile dupes. You’ll know what multis created to the housefile also will have appeared on a list other than the housefile.
• Save the rental multis for reuse later. When there are dupes on the file, the merge can assign the surviving record randomly across all lists or based on a defined priority by list.