In recent years, an increasing number of direct marketers are turning to private prospect databases as a means to combat the external forces that spoil their customer acquisition efforts. For marketers who use direct mail to acquire customers, challenges include declining response rates, list fatigue, lack of new names, shortened campaign times, and the need for timely postcampaign metrics. Not too long in our past, we could have dialed up our modeling efforts, but even sophisticated modeling techniques have their limitations against these industry forces.
A consumer catalog company typically mails to its housefile 11 times a year, while a business-to-business cataloger mails on average 15 times to its customers. Does that sound like awful lot of mailings to you? If so, your business might be able to benefit from an increase in the number of drops to your housefile.
Database models tend to be remarkably resistant to nondramatic changes in creative and price, says Jim Wheaton, a principal in Chapel Hill, NC-based Wheaton Consulting Group. Therefore, as long as the fundamentals of your business remain reasonably stable and there is no change in the structure of the source data, models are likely to retain their potency for years.