Making Outside Lists Work Harder in a Multichannel Economy A C
By Dennis Bissig
This article was the 2005 Lists Web Community Spotlight feature.
Up until very recently, a company's marketing plan and planned housefile list growth would start with a yearly schedule of catalog mailings broken down into various customer, housefile and outside lists. Sales would be estimated based on the prior year's mail and phone sales, modified by any creative, merchandising, promotional, page count or other changes. The marketing plan then was developed as a direct outgrowth of these mailings, as was housefile growth.
Now, this "circulation plan" comprises only one part, albeit a large and important part, of a company's annual marketing plan and household list growth. A marketer now needs to include a complete customer e-mail program; sales and costs associated with affiliate marketing efforts; and orders resulting from search engine optimization and paid search marketing programs. The marketer's customer file will be very different in its makeup and in how it performs in a housefile mailing and as a rental file for other mailers.
Many direct marketers now are beginning to look strategically at how this plethora of customer and prospect marketing opportunities has changed their world. It's no longer enough just to add each of these media into their plan and devise the corresponding budgets. They need to approach this new marketing world completely differently if they're to make the most of all of these opportunities.This new approach includes:
- understanding changes in prospect and customer behavior as they continue to evolve;
- developing prospecting plans that capitalize on all of the customer acquisition options now available to direct marketers; and
- devising a customer contact strategy that recognizes the varied sources from which these customers have been acquired.
One thing hasn't changed, and that is the continual need to prospect for new customers. And one very important component of prospecting is making sure that direct marketers get the best performance from outside lists, which remain for most catalogers the single, largest source of new customers.