Hotline Names - Get 'Em While They're Hot (1,361 words)
Marketers have always been told to evaluate their customers based on the most obvious predictive data: recency, frequency and monetary value.
Of the three, recency holds a good deal of influence over the value of a name; someone who's been active in the last six months should be a better gamble than someone who hasn't conducted any transactions for the past three years.
Does recency truly connote a willingness to buy? As with all concepts in direct marketing, the value of hotline names depends. It depends on the definition of recency, the marketer's objective and the myriad factors affecting any list decision.
To debunk hotline names, it helps to remember that hotlines didn't always exist. Somewhere back in time, a list manager asked himself how to better promote the files at his company. Or, a client wanted to select only the best part of the file (who doesn't?). Where better to start than with RFM, of which recency is a characteristic highly valued by marketers? Separate these names from the rest of the file and voilá! You've got another product to promote.
Getting Past the Hype
Yes, there is a lot of hype surrounding hotlines. However, the idea is based on sound list rental principles.
"There's nothing magical about hotline names," explains Chris Salvo, executive vice president at List Technology Systems. When it comes down to it, hotline names are still records of people on a file just like the others. The idea is that they are more recent buyers or inquirers.
Bob Portner, senior account executive, Kroll Direct Marketing, generally agrees with the principle that a prospect who has just done something within a recent time frame should be a better pull. But a hotline doesn't guarantee automatic success for an offer.
Recency is only important when it's truly relevant, says Salvo. For example, just because someone bought a software program last month doesn't mean he is going to buy another software program soon.