3 Facts About Hotline Names
For decades, marketers have shaped their direct mail programs around the knowledge that the most recent customer or lead names to come onto a file, called a hotline, are the most responsive to be had in the marketplace. But now that we're marketing in the Internet age, with access to hotline segments on e-mail lists as well, has this select lost any of its luster?
Let's look at the question statistically. According to Chris DeMartine, director of business development at NextMark, a Hanover, N.H.-based provider of information and technology solutions that support list and insert media marketing and rental efforts, historical data of more than 452,000 orders placed across its list order system indicate nearly 12 percent had hotline select requests. Now, he explains, consider that about two-thirds of list rentals are compilation buys that don't offer hotlines, so that percentage is much higher. His guess puts hotline select requests on about 30 percent of all list rentals.
So what is it about hotline names that they never go out of style? Primarily, it comes down to three essential facts.
Fact #1: Recency Never Loses Currency
In his circulation analysis for various clients over the years, Gary Hennerberg, founder of Hennerberg Group Inc., a direct marketing consulting firm in Colleyville, Texas, consistently has seen hotline names perform better than actives. Statistically, he notes, there are always exceptions to every rule. But generally, "the hotter the name, the better it's going to respond," he says, adding that the value of recency is a "timeless aspect of direct marketing."
His list-testing experience leads him to put the increased performance of hotline names for most regular mail users at 10 percent to 25 percent.
While the majority of the testing around hotlines has involved postal lists, the concept should hold true for any of the e-mail address hotlines on the market. "Again, our testing would indicate that the more recent a person has done something online, the higher the predictability they will do something again," says Hennerberg, explaining that the source is not as important as the quality of the action and the recency.