Weighing In on the Catalog Co-op Databases '06
By Matt Griffin
Now an eight-player field, consumer co-ops widen their offerings. What works best foryour catalog?
With five established cooperative databases in the market, and three others trying to make headway in the past year, you might wonder what exactly separates each of these from one another. Whatever sets each co-op apart, the important thing to consider is that constant testing will prove whether the models offered by each company actually work.
"Certainly you have to be willing to test the different databases, and you have to be willing to test different models," says Bob Webb, senior vice president of marketing for multititle cataloger Potpourri Group. "You have to give them a chance to fail or succeed."
Here, we'll lay out for you what individual services or models make each one unique and better suited for different types of mailers.
Introduced in 1990, making it the oldest co-op out there, Abacus credits both its 16-year legacy within the industry and its research and development (R&D) efforts as the Alliance database's defining characteristics, says Casey Carey, senior vice president of Alliance data services for the Lafayette, Colo.-based catalog cooperative.
"We continually make significant investment in not only our products, but the infrastructure and the technologies that support it," Carey says. "We spend a significant share of our R&D dollars just getting better at what we already have."
And one product that's come out of those R&D efforts is FastPath, a prospecting solution that relies heavily on Abacus' ability to leverage the large number of names in its database. The FastPath service asks a cataloger to take 100 percent of its circulation from the Alliance database. This is predicated on the notion that other co-ops and rental lists provide a subset of the names that Abacus can provide, Carey says.
- Lafayette, Colo.