October 22, 2008

A Co-Op Solution For The Folks Who Hate Us

This site was promoted on a popular third party opt-out service blog. The site returns the favor today.

There's several million people out there who hate marketers of our ilk. The hate is growing, especially in the past twenty-four months. While not necessarily due to causation, it is worth mentioning that as we swing our customer acquisition efforts to co-ops, we seem to absorb an increasing amount of venom.

Contempt happens when we send catalogs to folks who don't want them, and that happens in the realm of customer acquisition. Our job, over the next twenty-four months, is to identify ten or fifteen micro-channels that allow those who want to shop with us to purchase, while reducing customer acquisition efforts among those who feel contempt.

Is this easy to accomplish? Heck no! Is it necessary? Absolutely.

There's plenty of things to be angry about in the world. Seeing your 401k drop in value by 40% is a bit more troubling than finding an unwanted catalog in your mailbox. Selling your home for a loss and having to bring $100,000 to close is a bit more troubling than finding 40 unwanted catalogs in your mailbox. Sometimes we need to have a little perspective.

But we can (and should) do a much better job of minimizing the negativity spread by those who are upset with us. Our co-ops can help us by using their modeling genius to create "synergy" models that identify folks who hate us, suppressing these folks from our mailings. Wouldn't it make sense for the co-ops to import third-party opt-out service lists, model those names and identify similar ones likely to hate us, and create a suppression list that we avoid? It's the same principal used in finding the best customers to mail, why not use the methodology to find the folks most likely to hate us? And why not sell this list to us --- the "hate list", folks who hate getting rogue catalogs in their mailbox, even if they get the rogue catalogs because they've ordered from catalog brands in the past? Charge us for a suppression list of folks who are likely to hate us --- and we can save $$$ and allow the haters to spend time hating something else.

If this service is being marketed by one of the co-ops, please leave a comment, and I'll contact the co-op to give them a bit of publicity.

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