Use Selects & Enhancements to Refine Your List (1,151 words)
With the exception of newborns, there is a scarcity of new names to mail. New lists to the market are made up of the same names in a different form in a slightly different context. Consequently, the same direct-mail responsive customers are being saturated with offers. Simply put, everyone is cherry-picking and mailing the same best-performing names, thereby lowering overall response rates.
According to Jim DeMarke, senior product manager at Experian, an Illinois-based information solutions company, although proven mail-order buyers remain the most responsive, "It is unlikely that marketers will find someone that no one else has ever found." The trick, he says, is to "drill down" to the audience most likely to respond to a specific offer by continually refining the list you mail, using data for analysis, segmentation and testing.
While marketers can choose selects based on their own observations and conclusions about their customers, external information can be helpful.
"They can gain a better or truer understanding of their customers by enhancing their transactional data with additional information about their consumers," says DeMarke. "These data enable greater insight and leads to more intelligent selects to mirror their best customers."
What's more, after enhancing their customer database, many marketers discover their best customers are not who they thought they were!
Mind the Gaps
Transactional data alone only will tell you how recently a customer made a purchase, how frequently he or she buys from you, and his or her dollar value to your company. It won't tell you who your customers are in terms of demographics or other characteristics.
By appending demographic and psychographic data to your house file you can "fill in the gaps" of missing information. This will give you a more complete representation of who your customers are. The more you understand about your customers, the better you are able to tailor your offers and boost response. In addition, this insight can enable you to create different messages for different segments of your audience.