Refresh Your Old Strategies

“I like to ask my clients what they have tried in the past to try to reach a specific list segment,” says Bill Singleton, president of Algonquin, IL-based database-marketing consultancy Singleton Marketing, “or if they have seen their competition target prospects a certain way.” That’s in keeping with the philosophy that there are no old strategies: Customer acquisition techniques go in and out of style but can still work if they are updated to take advantage of technology and demographics, he says.

Singleton suggests looking through your old segmentation and circulation plans. Are there tactics that you discarded right off? If so, give them a second look. For instance, high-tech products can have such large average order sizes that using RFM to mail down to the segment break-even level isn’t necessary. But when you want to feature peripherals and accessories, which have lower average order sizes, RFM can help you identify the segments whose orders should exceed the cost of the mailing.

“We often don’t see what we aren’t looking for,” Singleton notes. Overreliance on one variable or strategy such as household size or income profiling can give you tunnel vision.

“Step back and look at geographic analysis,” Singleton says. “Or purchase more variables in your next customer file enhancement and see if the new items correlate with your sales pattern. Similarly, the zip code modeling and screening you thought about and ignored when you were mailing regionally can come into play now on the national level to keep mail density high and postage low.”