Prospects for Lower Rates
Earlier today I caught a twitter post from Harry Joiner about a session at today’s National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum. According to Stephen M. Kearney, vice president of pricing and classification for the U.S. Postal Service a special prospecting rate for catalogers is a possibility. According to the article “Attendees agreed that a reduced prospecting rate would stimulate catalog mailings and, in turn, increase volume for the USPS.”
First off, if the USPS would begin charging special reduced rates for catalogs, how would they audit it?
Would catalogers then broaden their definition of prospects to mail more catalogs at reduced rates? At my company our definition of a prospect has always been very broad. If we have rented a 3rd party name and they have never bought from us, they are a prospect. If a name is on our housefile (in our database) but has never bought from us (a gift-recipient, a catalog requester, an online shopping cart abandoner, etc.) then they are a prospect. If a “customer” is a 1-time buyer, they are a prospect (Others might call them a suspect, regardless you are not loyal until you’ve bought a second time). If any customer has not bought from us in 5 years, they are reclassified a prospect.
I’ll be following this topic very closely. I hope the USPS follows through. As all catalogers are cutting circulation (to prospects & customers), I hope Mr. Kearney wasn’t just telling a crowd full of catalogers (i.e., his customers) something they wanted to hear to maintain their loyalty.
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