Is Add-A-Name All That?

When done right, mailers say add-a-name can help save merchants a lot of money. The tactic allows merchants to save money on their mailings by using second-tier prospect names to fill gaps in carrier routes.

But is it really a money-saver? Or is it a cheap form of prospecting to less-desirable names?

Robin Lebo, president of catalog consultancy Lebo Direct, says that for the revenue merchants are potentially going to generate, they may as well co-mail instead.

“Honestly you have to look at incremental costs of mailing 50,000 vs. 100,000, vs. 150,000 catalogs,” Lebo said. “How many orders do I have to get to break even? In some cases you may improve your deliverability, but it’s hard to monitor that unless your printer is doing follow-ups.”

Lebo says that add-a-name seemed so innovative just a few years ago. Back then, it was nothing about knowing who the prospect was, it was just a way to fill in those zip code gaps.

And if you’re doing your homework and weeding out those second-tier buyers, is it worth putting them back in the mail pool? Lebo says you can do a double analysis on that.

“Lets say you have nine of your best buyers in a zip code, maybe that tenth one is worth it,” Lebo said. “But the customer can’t be Joe Blow. You have to have a quality name and not a throw-away.”

Also, if your printer is doing the add-a-name for you, buyers beware. The pool of names the printer has may not be as strong as ones you could get from a co-op or your list service provider, Lebo said.