A Dozen Techniques for Building Better Co-op Models

Happy with the models you receive from your cooperative databases? Even if you are, you can get probably achieve even better modeling from your co-ops by asking them to try alternative methods such as these:

  1. Eliminate transactions from certain catalogs when building the model. List the catalogs whose buyers you don’t want to prospect to. Often models grab big universes of names from catalogs you know aren’t going to buy from your catalog.
  2. Build your own list of catalogs that you should be prospecting to, and ask the co-op to give you just these catalogs. Telling the co-ops which catalogs are most like your catalog really helps them build models that focus on the most likely prospects. Share your universe of vertical lists that work with the databases so that they know what categories of lists and which specific lists are working. Share the names of the vertical lists that fail.
  3. Review which merchandise categories your model is being built from, and consider dropping a fringe category.
  4. Model just your fall season buyers or your holiday buyers rather than model all your buyers for a fall or holiday mailing. This is especially useful if you know that you get different buyers for different seasons.
  5. Model just your very best buyers. Take 3x+ buyers (if you have more than 5,000) and model those loyal buyers.
  6. Model just your recent new-to-file buyers. If your market is pretty mature, this will point you to where you are able to effectively prospect for new buyers.
  7. Apply your own geographic preselect. The databases often don’t do well at finding geographic hot spots. Use a zip table to get at your hot spots and also to suppress poor-performing parts of the country.
  8. Model buyers of products that are consumables to find buyers who will rebuy from you many times.
  9. Compare your best buyers to your entire buyer file, and see if the differences between your best buyers and your total buyer file lead you to a good preselect.
  10. Review the Abacus or NextAction “gains charts” to see if there is potential universe going deeper in established models.
  11. Ask the databases to remodel the remaining list universe after taking all your proven models to see if they can find an incremental universe.
  12. Try to find profitable names from more than one database. Common sense says the databases work harder to find you names if they have some competition from other databases.

Cooperative database models are becoming an ever-increasing share of catalogers’ prospecting universes. Learn to tweak the database production models and you’ll get better results and larger list universes as well as maintain your results in the face of inevitable list fatigue.

Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based Catalog Marketing Economics.

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