Utilizing Cooperative Databases to Reach Your Best Customer
by Bonnie Parkos
Most direct mailers are well aware of Cooperative Database models and use them for anywhere from 50 to 100% of their prospecting needs. The co-ops have amassed a wealth of information, which they use to build their models. That data can also provide so much more for you than merely prospect names for your business. Data fuels the knowledge of our customer base. It gives us the knowledge to effectively market to your core customer group, and your customer profile is a big piece of that. Every business has a demographic profile of their customer file they can rattle off at a moment’s notice. But have you really explored who your customer is? Have you truly researched how that customer profile you think you know so well compares to what your data says?
Surprisingly, too many companies have one customer profile in mind, yet their data shows a completely different customer. You think your customer is female 30-45 with young children present and a moderately high household income (HHI). Yet your demographic report from the co-op shows that your customer is 45-55 female empty nester with a more modest HHI. Let’s face it, you need to market differently to these two very contrasting groups. Whether it’s a matter of imagining who you want your customer to be, old misinformation, or outdated data, it’s certainly easy to be surprised when your customer profile turns out to be different than what you were expecting. You are not alone, and we can help you fix that! Don’t let yourself be distracted by who you think your buyer is. Using your list selection to change your customer base is an impossible task. You cannot appeal to a different audience without changing your product offering, and you undeniably don’t want to abandon your existing customer base. In other words, you will not appeal to a younger audience simply by mailing younger lists. Take the time to find out who your customer really is. Each co-op has 2,500+ participants and billions of transactions at their fingertips to provide an amazingly complete customer profile.
If you work with the cooperative databases as an extension of your marketing team and keep an open mind; the quality of prospect names will be enhanced. Share your goals and your results with them, and don’t be afraid to let them know what you expect in terms of performance, so they can help you accomplish your objectives. Once you have your shiny new customer demographic profile, you will be on your way to making more informed decisions for your business.
Bonnie Parkos is a Senior Marketing Consultant with Lett Direct, since October 2012. Prior to Lett Direct she was a Marketing Operations Specialist with Junonia Activewear. Graduating from the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, OK with a BS in Biology, Bonnie found herself in a variety of positions and industries before settling into the world of direct marketing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 952.479.0759.