How Cooperative Are Co-op Databases?
At the heart of this issue, says Wiland, is that the data is always the client's and not the co-op's. What the co-op retains full control of is its model-building technology and software, which plays a big part in the value of one co-op to the next.
Question No. 3: Will the Cooperative Firm Share Insights on the Analytical Results?
Given that the main goal of co-op members is to drive their prospecting—and even retention—to more profitable heights via the deeper analysis afforded by more robust models, it makes sense that participants would want to be privy to some of the insights such analytics afford.
Wiland and other industry pros call this the "black box" of co-ops, meaning that participants don't always know what elements went into the model. To truly help marketers improve their direct marketing practices and grow their customer file, it's important to at least know what factors are driving names to the top of the model, says Wiland. And, he adds, for marketers to have an understanding of any given model's likelihood of performance. Marketers should be able to assess the testing risk as best possible.
As in any joint venture, full cooperation between all partners is crucial to success. Witsell notes that the best scenario is for the co-op to work with the member's list manager and broker so that this part of the prospecting and retention strategy can be integrated and leveraged into the marketer's overall business goals. Look at the marketer's old test results to see how cooperative data could provide more insight on how to better use all list resources available on the market, he says.
To Know for Sure …
If you're still on the fence as to whether joining a co-op will pay, assess it the direct marketing way: Test.