Traditional or Co-op, Tips To Get The Best Performance From Your List
At last week’s List Day in New York City, sponsored by The Direct Marketing Association, a panel — comprising Robin Lebo, senior account manager of Prefer Network; Mitch Schultz, director of marketing at Delia*s; and Phil Wiland, chairman of Wiland Direct — discussed tips for profiting the most from your list. Below are some of their thoughts.
* Integrate your data. “Data is not insight,” Wiland says. He stresses that raw numbers are great to have, but they mean nothing if you can’t apply them to optimize performance from your customers. “It’s more than just giving them the names,” he says.
* Traditional lists work best for niche products. Names modeled from co-op databases don’t work for all catalogers. Schultz notes that Delia*s is atypical of the industry. “We sell to teenagers and co-op lists typically don’t include teenagers,” he says. “How niched the product might be may mean you’re not able to work with co-ops. It’s a unique problem. None of the co-ops are going to be strong for us.”
Lebo counters that Delia’s can take advantage of the fact that many parents of teenagers and preteens buy products for their children, and that these names could be useful in list purchases.
* Provide feedback to your broker. “Working with us to tell us about their business works best,” Wiland says. He notes that well-informed brokers can better serve their clients. Lebo adds, “Let your list broker know what didn’t work.” She stresses communicating your metrics with your brokers.
* Optimization within your list. Speaking again on Delia*s situation, Lebo cites the opportunity for clothing size data in co-op lists for apparel companies. As an example, she mentioned smaller-size adult women who can wear Delia*s apparel. This type of data can be used to target a narrow market for optimal performance, one that previously had gone untapped.
* Look for stability within your list. Data must be provided in a consistent formula from your broker. Lebo advises that when buying a list for factors such as recency, frequency or monetary data, make sure these factors are not revised or switched without your knowledge.
She cites a cataloger that was given a list of names based on data that was totally different from the data it had requested. It had unknowingly received the wrong names, and the cataloger went ahead with its mailing campaign. As a result, it was unsuccessful.
Schultz asserts that mailers need to be aware of the data they’re getting from their broker. “Inconsistency is much greater in co-ops vs. traditional lists,” he says.
Adds Wiland: “Co-ops don’t have the knowledge to look for other places to find data. We receive data that arrives mapped differently, making it much more difficult to understand. We emphasize stability. We don’t always get it, but that’s our goal.”
Despite co-op databases overwhelming popularity among consumer catalogers, the panel agreed that traditional vertical lists still hold value.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.