Multibuyers used to be a source of highly responsive prospecting names. These names had the added advantage that they were “free” because you had already paid for them in the initial list rental. Since you had paid to rent the same name from two different lists, the second time you mailed them cost nothing because the multibuyer name had already been paid for.
But many catalogers are seeing this little added bonus of highly responsive multibuyer circulation disappearing. Mailers put big multibuyer universes into a merge-purge and few names survive to be mailed as multibuyers. Why do so few names survive? With the increasing number of cooperative database names being used, the new prospecting names going into a merge bounce against the old multibuyers from the last mailing and most of the multibuyers match with new prospecting names. The cooperative databases tend to deliver higher quantities of mulitbuyer names and much fewer unique names because the cooperative databases deliver only multibuyers; you have to be on two, three or more different lists for the cooperative database to serve up a name.
How can you profitably mail your multibuyers rather than losing them to mulitbuyer churn in your merge? Consider adding prospect mailings where you mail only multibuyers from previous merges. The mulits will be both free and will outperform the response of larger prospect mailings.
Make sure there is enough breathing space between prospect mailings so you don’t mail the same prospect name too frequently. But if you can create a mailing window of at least six weeks between the initial mailing of a prospect name and the mulitbuyer mailing and keep from mailing the name again until six weeks or more after the mulitbuyer mailing, you’ll have enough time to get the full response from each mailing of a prospect name.
Look at the percentage of multibuyers that survive a merge/purge and recognize if you are churning your multibuyers and not getting full value from renting prospect names. If you are losing all your multis in the merge, consider slipping in a small prospect mailing to use these highly responsive mulitbuyer names.
Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics.