The downside is that you can end up taking a list that would have been acceptable in the mailing, and pushing it too far down, giving it no multis. The list might actually be contributing to your mailing, [but] you’ve artificially set it up in such a way that the list doesn’t work anymore, and you drop it and stop mailing it. So there’s a danger to doing it that way, as well.
TG: Is there a way to control for that danger?
TC: The better way to control for it is to say that you’re going to randomly assign for your duplicates. So if you randomly assign them, then any list gets a percentage of the duplicates associated with that list. So a list that matches up against a lot of other lists will get more multibuyers than a list that comes in and has all unique names. The advantage of that, from a results standpoint, is that you haven’t skewed any of the lists and have given them all a fair chance in the merge.
TG: Since you work in such tight vertical markets, what are some of the list challenges you face, and how do you overcome them?
TC: One of the biggest challenges, with any list or title, is finding more names that are appropriate to the title you’re trying to mail. In the vertical markets, especially very tight ones, like aviation for example, there is a known, finite number of pilots out there—and the pilot population is not increasing, which makes it very hard to increase the size of the titles. The best thing we can do is try to strike up deals with as many other players in the same space. So whether they are directly competitive or whether they are not competitive but market products to the same audience, we try to get in with other publishers or other people in the aviation space or the health space and do co-branded deals. For instance, in our aviation area, there are a number of different catalogs out there that offer training videos, DVDs and other products. We often take a product from them and use it as a renewal premium on our publications, which gives them exposure to our readers and gives us a product that has a high perceived value—and that will be greatly received by our audience and encourage them to renew.