• Does a combination of media produce better results? For example, will a letter and e-mail outperform a letter alone?
• Do some customers prefer one medium over another? For example, can some customers be eliminated from certain mailings and sent e-mails instead without a loss in sales?
• Does general media, like magazines or radio, produce good prospects or information requests? Many catalogers now get most of their new prospects from their Web site. Knowing which media channel customers come from, respond to and prefer is critical.
Research Is the Best Strategy
The best strategy for housefile segmentation requires you to understand the customers, their behavior and why segments are unique. It places a high demand on research, not only to uncover complex patterns, but to understand them, internalize them, and create new offers and strategies with them.
Look for information that supports understanding and allows you to know when and how to change your strategy. Don’t be afraid to seek a partner with experience to help develop the research. In the end, housefile segmentation based on understanding is not only more effective, but easier and more fun to do.
Alan Weber is president of Marketing Analytics Group and is a consultant who works with direct marketing firms and agencies. Weber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.