List and Database Ideas of Merit: Find Prospects in Your House File

Expanding the universe of continuation-grade prospects is a leading concern for most b-to-b circulation managers. One reliable tactic to add a substantial prospect group to your continuation plans is to use your house file to identify site-level matches on the other lists in a database that you are preapproved to mail.

This approach works most effectively when you to mail from a cooperative prospecting database in which your house files are resident for suppression purposes. It can also work in a merge/purge.

How many site matches are you likely to find? That will depend on the size of your customer list. We have found that smaller files of 25,000 -50,000 names can yield 100,000 -200,000 new individual records at sites matching to your house file. After all, you are running it against a database that may have as many as 60 million net records.

Do you mail all the individuals at your existing customer site? That depends on the type of offer and products you are selling. If you have a back-office offer, you may not wish to mail the site-level matches on front-office lists or publications. If you are selling a widely used category of products such as motivational posters, you can justify a test across all the list categories.

You can also prioritize your tests based upon house file RFM characteristics. For example, don’t match low-average-order customer sites. Or match based only upon a high-frequency ordering sites. Additionally, the recent prospect that you find at an inactive site may not be a new contact as much as he may be the replacement for your lapsed customer.

This technique is most effective when firmographic data is present–the more the better. One additional contact may be worth mailing into a firm that has 20-49 employees, but it may not make sense if the site has fewer than 10 employees.

It is always important to use this technique as one part of your mix of prospecting. The 20% -30% lift in dollars per book can be addictive, but you need to prospect to new sites as well to keep the house file growing in size and attracting new types of customers.

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