Segmenting Beyond RFM

Traditional RFM segmentation just isn’t enough for catalogers. They need to identify and then segment meaningful factors on their house file. This can be useful when deciding how deeply to mail into the buyer file, which catalog covers to use, and how much to mail a contact during a season.

For instance, a few wedding mailer clients are segmenting by wedding date in order to maximize contacts during the key bridal buying season. A military cataloger client is segmenting by military branch and particular conflict to better target the right consumer with the right merchandise.

Infant product mailers should be segmenting by anticipated due date since buying patterns change depending on where expectant or new parents are in their childbirth cycle. A kitchen items catalog may want to segment by product category purchased—for example, someone who cans vegetables year after year may never be interested in buying cake decorating products. But without knowing who’s who on your file, you’ll never be able to correctly target your catalogs.

This doesn’t mean you should only mail say, a furniture catalog to a furniture buyer if you have a home décor book in your stable of catalogs, as well.

As with every new initiative, you should test to see how deeply you can go into each of your segments, depending on the book mailed or the season.

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

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