Going green is no longer a fad in the direct mail industry. It’s a must. And one way to go green, and save money in the process, is by removing wasteful circulation from your contact strategies. In a recent Target Marketing Group webinar, titled All About: Sustainability—Manage Your List the Green Way, Randy Erdahl, co-founder and president of Minnesota-based database marketing analytics firm Decision Intelligence, shared ideas on how to tighten circulation practices for a smaller carbon footprint and bigger ROI.
1. Use e-mail activity history to identify candidates for fewer catalogs. Identify customers who show a preference to shop without catalogs by looking at e-mail histories. These customers are prime candidates to test contacting through e-mail more and catalogs less, saving money on paper and postage, and at the same time, adding value to those customers by making it more relevant.
2. Set up a contact optimization stream test that can compete against the current circulation decision-making methodology. “Stream tests are excellent ways to learn if these new contact strategies work,” Erdahl said. Design a stream test to measure how well the results are. This approach measures over time the impact your new strategies have on the results and helps you determine if your test contact process (channels, frequency, etc.) is the right move. Stream tests quantify the results for you, said Erdahl, and determine how you should move forward.
3. Use ZIP code or other geographic level filters to screen prospect lists. “You should know what ZIP codes or other geographic areas are vast wastelands for your business, and you shouldn’t be mailing into them and [should be] suppressing them right up front in your prospecting efforts,” said Erdahl. “And find out where your hot spots are.”
4. Update catalog-sales-per-mailing models. You need multiple, detailed statistical predictive models in this day and age. If you use RFM, run, don’t walk, exclaimed Erdahl. If you don’t build separate models for customer segments, jog! And if you aren’t using different models for different catalogs, walk fast! The more detailed models you have, the better off you’ll be in eliminating wasted mailings.