Alternative Media for Catalog Prospecting The Right Formula (1
By Lois Boyle
Are marketing methods other than direct mail lists effective for catalog prospecting? They can be.
For catalogers who've found the right prospecting formula in alternative media, the payoff is big. Consider Omaha Steaks, Lands' End, Park Seed and Cushman's Fruit. All of these companies have found a way to affordably—even profitably!—find new customers.
Even if direct mail lists already work for your catalog, test alternative media. First, it balances your prospect portfolio, allowing you to beat the odds when your traditional method isn't working. Second, alternative media lets you prospect outside of your regular season. And in some cases, it can be cheaper, create more qualified prospects and allow you to reach a different pool of prospects than your competitors.
How do you reach that Holy Grail of the perfect alternative media prospecting vehicle? Here's a checklist for creating a formula that will work.
Choose the Right Media
Before deciding what method of alternative media to test, know how much you can afford to spend to acquire a customer. In your calculations don't include fixed creative costs that can be absorbed during several placements. Consider benchmark response rates along with the cost of placement, redemption and future conversion costs. Once you know these numbers, you can wisely pick media that work for you. After the analysis, do the following:
•Consider all media, including newspapers, magazine mail order sections, card decks, Sunday supplements, Internet ads, affinity programs, FSIs (free-standing inserts), package inserts, etc.
n Ask for and study the media kit to be sure the market fits your target audience. If you've obtained any modeling on your own customer base, use that information when making your media choices.
n Negotiate price and placement based on a test with the promise of rolling out (if the numbers work at a higher rate). Also research remnant space that guarantees you great prices, but not placement.