These are tough times for direct marketers across the board. Postage and paper costs continue to rise, the economy is sluggish and response rates are falling as consumers become more judicious with their purchases. Customer files are shrinking, and marketers are taking a hit. Jason Riccardi, vice president of global circulation management and database marketing for B-to-B and B-to-C direct marketing solutions provider MeritDirect, describes this shriveling consumer base problem as a "leaky bucket" in his whitepaper, Three Ways to Lift Response and Profitability. He goes on to illustrate that the "water inside is your customer file … more and more of your customers drip away." In order to maintain size, explains Riccardi, marketers must fill the bucket just as fast as the water drips. Here are three tips he offers on just how to keep that leaky bucket full.