What’s New in List Marketing?

Oct 09, 2006 5:35 PM  By

“What’s new in list marketing?” is probably the question I’m most often asked these days. And the answer is one that, as a list broker, I’m only too happy to give: “Plenty.”

Whether we’re talking about advances in list segmentation, merge/purge strategies, modeling, demographics, or other opportunities, there are many more possibilities available now than there have been in a long time.

Then there’s the other second most-often-asked question: “How can I make some of these new avenues a part of my ongoing circulation and marketing plans?” While not quite as simple as my answer to the first question, the answer is still an extremely optimistic one: “By planning.”

The best way to take full advantage of these new options is to approach them as you should every other aspect of your business, and that is by putting together a plan for
each of them. This means:

  • Setting a series of overall objectives
  • Designing a series of action steps for each objective
  • Defining measures of success for each objective.

Let’s start with using improved segmentation, modeling, and other techniques to make large, previously unusable lists work for your business. Here’s how you would start:

  • Identify 10-15 lists with at least 500,000 12-month names
  • Establish a testing budget, timeframes, and expected outcomes for the program
  • Set a performance objective.

Next, construct a testing plan for each list. This plan should include:

  • When to mail each list
  • How many times to mail each one
  • Specific performance targets for each. These targets may or may not be the same as those for your “rollout” lists.

Finally, you’ll need to devise a segmentation plan for each list. This could include:

  • Better recency/frequency/monetary value (RFM) selections
  • Product selections
  • Seasonality
  • Demographic enhancements
  • List modeling
  • Custom selects from the list owner and manager.

The most important part of the process is to be patient. It may take a number of tries before you find the selection plan that works best for each list in your business. But the rewards can be significant. If you can get just 50,000 names to work on each of five lists, you’ve unearthed 250,000 new names. And if you can mail each of these segments four times a year, you now have access to 1 million prospect names that you didn’t have before.

The same planning methods can be used to open up other universes, such as compiled lists and out-of-category lists. The point is, especially with all of the new opportunities out there, the importance of planning has never been greater.

Steve Tamke is senior vice president of Hackensack, NJ-based list services firm Mokrynskidirect. He may be reached at stamke@mokrynski.com