Five Questions to Ask When Testing Rentals

You need to keep prospecting if you want to grow your business, and renting names is still clearly part of the process, according to Ken Lane, president of Litchfield, CT-based marketing solutions provider Hathaway & Lane Direct.

But if you’re testing names, how do you know you selected the right list? At a session titled “Maneuvering Through the Merge/Purge for Best Response Rates” at the Annual Conference for Catalogers and Multichannel Merchants (ACCM) in Boston last month, Lane posed five questions mailers should ask of every list test:

  1. Is the roll-out potential of the file worth the test? Think big. If the total file size is only 3,500 names, it’s nice, but it’s not going to move the needle for you.
  2. Is the file growing? Growth means you have two things working for you: If the test works, you have sizable and fresh pool of names to go back to. And if the company you’re renting the names from is growing its business, then it can help you grow your business.
  3. Is the file clean? You want to have the list owner use the same National Change of Address (NCOA) standards that you use.
  4. Do the data-card selects emulate your own buyers? Check to see if the card has similar demographics such as gender mix, geographic mix, college education, and household income.
  5. Do the other mailers using the file have a similar buyer profile to you? If their buyers look like your buyers, you have a good chance of having the test work.

If you can go five for five on answers to these questions, Lane told the audience, chances are your test is going to go well.

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