If the same name appears on two or more of the lists that you’ve rented for a mailing, it’s considered a rental multi. If you’re paying each list for the right to mail to that name, you might as well mail to him twice (or thrice, or however many times that multi crops up among your rented lists). After all, that particular name must be a good prospect, seeing as he has purchased more than once via direct mail.
But it’s not uncommon to experience declining performance from mailing to multis, for the simple reason that they are mailed to so many times.
If you experience a decline in multi performance, there are a few strategies to consider. You could have one of the cooperative databases optimize your multis. One of the issues that may be contributing to the decline in your multi performance, however, is that a good portion of the top tier of your co-op models are coming from the multiple co-op sources. So when you optimize your multis with a co-op, a large percent of what comes to the top of the optimization will be what came to the top of the models. This will create multis from multis instead of multis from outside lists. And multis from outside lists perform at a better rate then multis created from prior multis.
Another approach is to break out your multis that are created from outside lists vs. those from the co-op databases. By doing this, you will have three subcategories: 1) co-op database hit to co-op database; 2) co-op hit to outside list; and 3) outside list hit to outside list. You might find that although your multis are falling off in overall performance, you have better results from one or two of these subcategories and may choose to mail only the best.
Another approach would be to start putting multis in the merge at the lowest priority. Your individual lists will retain more names, and you will create fewer multis as a result. What you might find, though, is that what is retained on the individual list is a “truer” multi and what you retained on your multi codes may or may not perform at a rate worth mailing. Your net circulation will remain the same, but the multis created for future drops will be true multis and not outside lists hitting the multi file repeatedly.
Because there isn’t one solution that works for everyone, we suggest that you consider testing the above approach(es) that make sense for you, but only if your multi performance is declining or below the acceptable level of performance.
Sandy Wolstencroft is vice president of Lett Direct, a consultancy specializing in circulation planning, forecasting, and analysis.