Find and Flag the Business Buyers in Your House File

Many business-to-consumer catalogers sell to companies as well. If your catalog is a hybrid that sells to both consumers and businesses, you should segment and flag the businesses on house file.

You need to know if businesses respond better or differently than consumer households to your catalogs.

Businesses have bigger checkbooks, and buy for business needs rather than for consumer wants. They may buy different products, at different frequencies, and with different average order sizes than a consumer.

There are a few ways to identify a business buyer:

  • If they have a four line rather than a three line address.
  • If they self-identify themselves as a business when they order.
  • If they identify themselves as a business on your Website when they request a catalog.
  • If they are multibuyers with any b-to-b lists and are identified in the merge.
  • If you can identify them as businesses with an SIC overlay.
  • If DSF list hygiene identifies them as a business address.

How do you tailor your circulation for business buyers? First segment and measure businesses to see if your corporate buyers respond differently. You may want to mail them more frequently, have a separate cover with business products or a different product mix, or extra catalog signatures with business products.

Also, you may want to mail less to businesses during the fourth quarter holiday season, depending on the catalog.

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