Custom Response Models Are Worth Testing

Do you find yourself frustrated by diminishing response in your core co-op prospect models? Many of the co-operative databases offer custom response models to mailers who are seeing declining or inconsistent performance in their standby selections. These models are worth testing, and they are available at no additional cost.

While normal co-op models analyze just your buyers (i.e., responders) to produce prospects with similar recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) characteristics and buying patterns, custom response models take non-responders into consideration by profiling the mail file in addition to the buyer file.

Customers supply positive correlatives, while those who never respond to your offer can provide negative attributes. When co-op database statisticians account for both positive and negative factors, they can often deliver better performing prospect models.

Considering that for most businesses the non-responders outweigh the responders by about 99 to one, this new view can be useful. Once the statisticians have identified characteristics that are clearly correlated to non-responsiveness, they can add those to the model and generally improve it.

We have seen great results from custom response models for clients of different sizes and different niches. Custom response models can supply incremental unique names to your mailing that your core models might never serve up.

What do I have to do? You simply have to provide mail files for the same season from the previous year. Have your service bureau send them to the co-op. Remember, the co-op should already have your responder file as long as you have been sending regular transactional updates.

Be sure to pad your mail schedule an extra week or two the first time you run a custom response model — the co-ops will need it, since this strategy requires deeper analysis than their standard offerings.

Alexandra Singer is circulation and marketing manager at San Rafael, CA-based consultancy Lenser.

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