Direct Selling: Get More Bang for Your Buck
• Always NCOA your prospecting lists prior to the merge. The added expense virtually is certain to be worthwhile and, depending on the size of your prospect mailings, the revenue impact can be substantial.
• Consider using demographic and firmographic data available from your service provider to enhance your list selections and merge results. Many of the service providers have Experian, Polk or infoUSA data available to enhance the data you currently have in your database. These data points often are made available free of charge for processing purposes only, meaning you don’t pay to have them added in processing but you don’t get to add them to your database, either. They help in selection; you just can’t maintain them.
• Use the interaction reports to look for new list opportunities or to cut lists from your plan. The interaction reports reveal a good deal of information. In a recent merge/purge, one mailer saw more than 80 percent overlap in the cooperative databases top model segments. Use the data that’s available and make better decisions.
• Use a single merge to pull multiple drops. This is a cost-cutting tip. If you plan well, you can use a single merge to facilitate multiple drops and manage the mailings more efficiently. The key is pre-planning. And don’t forget to make multis a part of the merge.
• Manage your super-dupes. Super-dupes are hits between your older housefile and prospect list. Consider test mailing the matches between your older 36- and 48-month buyers and outside prospect files. These records typically perform very well.
The merge/purge is more than just a quick de-dupe. To get the most out of it, use all available tools and plan in advance. The more you plan, the more you will get out of your next merge/purge.
Steve Trollinger is executive vice president of J. Schmid & Associates, Mission, Kan. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.