Small Office/Home Office
This market is perfect for offers of business supplies and services, but at the end of the day, they are consumers, too. Candito advises mailers to analyze the offer and market before venturing into the consumer realm.
"Theoretically, SOHO can work for both," says Candito, "but that's not always the case. This market lends itself more to a B-to-B offer than a consumer offer, because when the person is in their small office or home office, they're thinking business, not home."
However, Michael Elbrecht, list manager at Kroll Direct Marketing/Compiled Solutions, reports frequent consumer mailer usage of Kroll's EMSI Small Business file of 1,605,535 business executives at their postal addresses.
"I have recently seen increased usage from mailers who are looking for an additional segment that they feel might be previously untapped as far as consumer offers go," says Elbrecht. "We [Kroll] always tout any SOHO file as a great option for consumer mailers."
Candito says there are demographics in the SOHO market that lend themselves to consumer offers that are also used for business: e.g., cell phones, credit cards and PDAs.
The majority of what Collins observes at FocusUSA is business mailers renting SOHO files. But, she says, there has been a shift to consumer catalogers looking to get more exposure for their catalogs by sending them to small business addresses.
"The consumer offer may not have anything to do with the business at hand, but just being able to reach these people and not have your effort get lost in the home mailbox clutter is worth it," she says.
For marketers targeting the SOHO market, direct mail is the preferred medium.
According to Elbrecht, Kroll has rented its small business files on more occasions to postal mailers than to e-mailers.
"E-mail is probably not the best medium to use to go after these people if you are sending consumer offers," says Collins, "because you don't know if they are in a small business environment or are working with other people intimately. Companies often frown upon personal e-mail for various reasons."