Searching for clues
Big, bulky merge/purge output reports contain a wealth of information that helps list-media planners and brokers evaluate a campaign before it goes in the mail.
“I immediately look for lists that show a high percentage of single-buyers,” says Amy Houke, director of list and print media services for DMW Worldwide. “Prospect lists that contain a large percentage of names that don’t also appear on other prospect lists could mean the list will not perform well. It could mean the list is not up to date. More likely, the list contains names of people who simply aren’t good prospects.”
According to Houke, it’s a double-edged sword: “We want to find new prospects, but it’s hard to find large quantities of new donors among people who don’t already give to many organizations.”
Usually the best lists have the highest percentage of matches against your own donor database and prospect files.
But before your next prospect mailing, rank your prospect files by duplication rate against the others. Those that have the highest dupe rates will be your star performers. Remember, though, high duplication rates mean you must rent and exchange more names to get the desired quantity in the mail.
Houke recommends looking carefully at certain lists that dupe hard against one another.
“You may want to order just one list among a group that tends to have extremely high duplication against one another,” Houke says. “Unless you can secure an agreement from list owners to only pay for the net names you use, it probably makes sense not to order lists that have extremely high dupe rates.”
Don’t forget to suppress
Suppression files are lists of people who you don’t want to get your prospect mailing. Besides the DMA Mail Preference file, you’ll also want to suppress your donor file.