In addition to acquisition lists, Wolferman's also uses co-op databases, such as Abacus, to help model its file. This has been especially useful in the gift recipient business, Trollinger says.
Brady explains the process: "Being a food product, with such a large holiday business, we have a huge gift recipient database. The question was, what do we do with these names? Some catalogers can mail all the gift recipients quite successfully. We have too many to do that cost-effectively right now. So, instead, we decided to have Abacus model our gift recipient file to help us determine which ones are worth mailing as catalog prospects."
Since these prospects did recently receive a Wolferman's product as a gift, out of courtesy, Wolferman's doesn't mail them until the following season, effectively skipping one mailing cycle.
Taking a Bite Out of New Media Sources
To supplement its list prospecting activities, Wolferman's began a more extensive space advertising program in the fall of 2003. According to Brady, ads were tested both in newspapers and Parade magazine publications. "And what we found was that not only was space successful in bringing in new customers, but that those customers purchased again a year later. So we expanded the program in 2004 and were honestly shocked at the high response rates we got."
Based on those successes, Wolferman's has increased circulation on those programs this year. "Of course, we know we'll see some drop off in response on the expanded circulation, but that's to be expected," says Brady. "But overall, we've been really pleased with how this medium has performed for us for new customer acquisition."
Overall, says Trollinger, the space ad strategy has performed at double the forecast in 2003 and right on forecast in 2004. "As a result of the positive results, plans are to expand the use of this medium further this year, with more full-page newspaper ad placements and Sunday newspaper FSIs in select regions across the nation," he notes.