Get Back to Prospecting Basics in 2009

Jan 05, 2009 10:15 PM  By

In a recession, multichannel merchants are looking for ways to save money. Unfortunately, many think they need to cut new customer acquisition entirely from their budgets.

For most companies, existing customer churn is inevitable. It is vital, especially in tough times, to keep your buyer file from atrophying.

The best thing multichannel merchants can do with their prospecting is get back to basics. Here’s three areas to consider: house file prospecting, cooperative database prospecting and traditional outside list prospecting.

House File Prospecting Tip: Reduce the timeframe between the delivery of the initial catalog request and the subsequent mailing. There are many companies who mail infrequently but have limited seasonality so they let months pass in between catalog requester mailings. Strike while the iron is hot. Get a second book in the mail within four to six weeks after the initial catalog request fulfillment.

Co-op Prospecting Tip: Re-mail early round control model names. Often, in our reviews of past prospecting performance, we observe results multiples of 2:1—sometimes even higher—when comparing early round control models to late round test models. Companies re-mail inquiries—why not re-mail high-performing co-op prospects, too? Time and time again, we see follow-up mailings to our tried and true cooperative prospects outperforming those at the bottom of the barrel—and by significant margins. Accounting is a snap—provide computer verification of re-usage to each cooperative firm, and they issue one additional invoice.

Traditional Outside List Prospecting Tip: Before you eliminate a list entirely, ask your broker to get creative with selection criteria. Just because a particular list select is not available on the data card does not mean it does not exist. It never hurts to ask, so ask for the world. The answer might surprise you. Providing hard evidence of a list’s under-performance usually helps, too—be sure to keep your broker in the loop with the performance of the lists and selects they recommend. When you do, a good broker will always be one step ahead of you. After all, in times like these, everyone wants to retain business.

Todd Miller is director of marketing & database services for catalog consultancy Lenser.