Using the Right Kind of Data (2,213 words)
More Predictive Future
Obviously, the most relevant data for catalog companies comes from their own house files and those of other catalog firms.
However, Lynde feels strongly that marketers can learn a lot about consumers' behavior by bumping their files against a different industry's database.
He cites the case of Smithsonian magazine, which took subscriber files from 1989 and older, cleaned them and passed them against the Z24 database; it then mailed all the matches on the last 24-month buyers and received a 21-percent lift in back-end response.
"In the past, separate entities were created for catalog buyers, magazine subscribers, book buyers, fund-raising donors and more," says Lynde. With the recent advances in technology and the creation of large-scale data warehouses, all relevant data can now be linked together allowing easy access to transactional tables across multiple industries. We've proven there's a direct correlation with many of these transactions and our objective is to now create dynamic environments where all data can be modeled and analyzed to reflect a much more rounded picture of our customers. After all, Lynde says, the more robust your data source is, the stronger your modeling foundation will be.
Camenzind does caution catalog companies to watch out for "analysis paralysis." The computer can only tell you so much about your database before you have to use your intuition and skill as a direct marketer to make sound targeting and mailing decisions.
The average consumer name is thought to reside on 250 files nationwide.