Moving the Needle

Jim Coogan, president of Sante Fe, NM-based consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics, defines “needle movers” as actions that increase either sales or profits. He cites a number of list- and database-related tactics as potential needle movers worth testing:

* Since e-mails are free are virtually free, e-mail a PDF of your current catalog to customers and prospects you wouldn’t spend money mailing a print book to.

* Mail fewer catalog pages to Web-only buyers. Sophisticated catalogers are shifting to more catalogs with fewer pages for their Web buyers.

* Segment your “holiday” buyers and cut the frequency of mailings to them during the first, second, and third quarters of the year.

* “Microsegmenting” within RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) segments can yield big profit increases. For instance, break out your one-time, two-time, and at least three time buyers. Segment buyers by channel (Web, call center, multichannel). Break out more dollar-select segments. Use RFM plus multibuyers for “super buyers” and to reactivate old buyer file segments.

* Extend the time frame of your sale offers to the prospects in your mailings. If an offer expires in six weeks, for instance, extend it to 12 weeks for prospect names. Don’t shorten the life of your order curves for your rental circulation.

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