Abacus: Acquisition Circulation Is Taking A Hit

If you follow Catalog Tracker, the service of the Direct Media that is summarized in the pages of Multichannel Merchant, then you know catalog mailings have shrunk over the past few years.

Paul Imbierowicz, vice president of strategy at Abacus, said at the Lenser Summit last week that the circulation crunch is more than just the anecdote about a mailbox at a Greenwich, CT-based list firm.

Between January and April, Abacus saw circulation for its clients drop 6% from the previous year. And while house file circulation was down just 2%, acquisition circulation was down 15%.

“People are putting more effort on their house files,” Imbierowicz says. “Merchants are working on activating names, re-activating names, and migrating buyers on their house files.”

Imbierowicz says he doesn’t believe prospecting is dead. But he says merchants need to look at its buyer files and understand how to properly market to them. Mail to the direct-mail driven segments, and e-mail to those who came in via the Web.

“Take these two types of buyers and contact them over time using their preferred contact strategies,” Imbierowicz says. “It makes sense from an investment scenario to get the near-term value out of them.”

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