An Abacus/Epsilon webinar I took part in on Oct. 1 addressed the challenge all marketers face today: how to maintain or grow our active customer databases despite increased costs and declining sizes of lists that used to be available for prospecting. Where do we turn for help to meet this challenge? To our customer databases, our largest assets.
Mary Ann Kleinfelter
One of the best takeaways for me from the recent Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) in New Orleans was the need to be open to “smart change,” a term I “borrowed” from Sarah Fletcher, creative director of Catalog Design Studios, a catalog creative consulting firm. She said, “The big take-home for me from this year's conference was No. 1, don't panic, and No. 2, be open to smart changes.”
It’s no secret that there are far fewer list management and brokerage firms vying for our business. Many of the smaller, more entrepreneurial list firms have been absorbed by a few large corporations. As a result, some catalogers believe there are fewer opportunities to negotiate pricing and fewer choices in general. The same concerns exist about firms that rent out cooperative prospect lists. But in reality, the contrary is true.
For many years, square-inch analysis was delegated to the newest member in a catalog marketing department and was almost considered a rite of initiation. Assigning this relatively tedious task to the newbie provided the added benefit of making sure every member of the department understood and appreciated square-inch analysis. Square-inch — aka “squinch” — analysis is a method for determining the relationship between the space allocated to the sale of a product or set of products and the sales and/or profits stemming from their appearance in that space. Quite simply, you compare the sales and profits to the cost of the space the
A good list-hygiene strategy can help ensure that your increasingly costly promotions will reach only those people who are actually at the address to which you’re mailing and can help you avoid sending duplicate catalogs. Today, many catalogers use state-of-the-art models and have invested millions of dollars in operating systems that generate data used to run their businesses. But keep in mind that these models and data will be only as good and dependable as the customer information loaded onto them. Andrew Kapochunas, leader of business development and strategy for sales and marketing solutions at Dun & Bradstreet, notes that data hygiene now
I have worked at numerous business-to-business (b-to-b) catalogs during the years, and one problem I’ve consistently come across is getting catalogers to see the importance of list hygiene. It’s been an uphill battle to get management to spend the time and money on this important area. It never seems to make it to the top of their “to-do” lists. But that recently has changed with the anthrax scare and postage hikes. Many experts agree with The Direct Marketing Association and U.S. Postal Service that mail will gain greater credibility and a higher opening rate if names and addresses are clean and professional-looking.