DESPITE THE LONGTIME BACKING of service bureau Experian (formerly Direct Marketing Technology), consumer catalog co-op database Z-24 has rarely drawn raves from catalog members.
But during the past year, Z-24 has spent $2 million of Experian’s money to build a new modeling platform for its catalog database as well as for its CircBase magazine publishing database, says Peter O’Neil, Experian’s cooperative database senior vice president/general manager. New hardware will enable Experian to “move everything off the mainframe,” while new software will allow the company to automate its modeling process, O’Neil says. This will enable Z-24 to offer custom solutions for catalogers: The software will choose among multiple modeling methodologies to determine which works best for each cataloger.
In addition, Z-24 has increased its staff by 10% during the past year. And beginning in late spring, Z-24 will provide database updates twice a month rather than monthly.
“The thing I love about Z-24,” says Susan Boghosian, director of marketing and strategic planning for The Smithsonian Catalogue, “is that it provides a reporting package on our customers with complete demographic profile, lifestyle information, and census data as part of being a participant.” The report shows how Smithsonian’s customer profile compares with the Z-24 database as a whole. This tool, says Boghosian, who also uses Prefer and I-Behavior, “often provides direction in our modeling efforts.”
Other catalog clients such as Thompson Group, Levenger, Oriental Trading, and Hammacher Schlemmer are also pleased with Z-24 today, O’Neil says: “Would they have said that three years ago? No.”