Brookstone’s Picks Co-ops Over List Rentals

Merrimack, NH-based gifts and gadgets merchandiser Brookstone says it will save “seven figures” a year by turning to the co-ops in lieu of traditional list brokers and managers.

Steve August, operational vice president of customer marketing for Brookstone, says its new multiyear deal signed this month with Lafayette, CO-based Abacus – and the decision to stop using a list brokerage and management firm the merchant had been working with will also make prospecting a little less complex.

“For our external prospecting, rentals and exchanges had represented up to 75% of our prospecting circulation, which is in the tens of millions,’ August says. “We would typically work with over 200 rental lists during drops of our holiday mailings.”

August said Brookstone began experimenting with the co-ops a year and a half ago, starting with its holiday 2005 mailings, and found that the performance of the prospects it received have been on par, if not better, than what they the merchant has seen in the past. August declined to give response rates, but says it has given them the confidence to increase its holiday prospecting this year by the mid-to-high 20% range.

Meanwhile, Ben Perez, president of Peterborough, NH-based Millard Group said co-ops continue to present a compelling option to mailers. But he doesn’t expect to see a rush of mailers using the co-ops as a sole option for prospecting.

“We’d be remiss not to be cognizant and aware of it,” Perez says. “In reality, it’s another level of competition, and something to continue to monitor and watch.”

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