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Broker Roundtable: What’s the Impact of Foreclosure Crisis on Hotlines?

By Feb 14, 2011

Welcome to Broker Roundtable, where each week we ask list brokers to give their opinions on issues that matter to the marketing community. This week’s question: In the light of the foreclosure crisis and more people moving around the country to find work, are hotlines more important than ever?

Our current panel includes: Lori Collins of Focus USA; Matt Kaiser of Veradata; Jeff Kobil of LDS Group and Herb Torgersen of Directinnovations. Would you like to be considered to be a member of our roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs at larry.riggs@penton.com.)

Lori Collins, corporate vice president, Focus USA:
We suggest that clients try hotlines first. Unfortunately, around 9% of Americans are chronically unemployed. It is more important than ever to use hygiened multi-sourced and multi-verified hotline files to ensure mail gets delivered. Hotline files of recent past behavior continue to be a major indicator of future behavior.

Matt Kaiser, executive vice president, Veradata:
Hotline files are extremely important—now more than ever. More so than just foreclosures and moves, it is the purchase behavior that has become so critical. Consumers are not spending the same way that they used to. Even when the retail figures were recently released showing improvements in spending, who is spending and what they are buying has become important to direct marketers. People are not spending the same way. Purchases are more considered, the quality of goods is more relevant…there is less frivolity today. Hotline files identify the people who are buying similar items to what marketers are selling today. Thirty-, 60-, 90-day spending behavior has become the best predictive gauge of response.

Jeff Kobil, Co-CEO, LDS Group Inc.:
Hotline files have always been important and continued to be important during the foreclosure crisis. But I’m not certain people moving around the country to find jobs has affected list performance in any way. We tried to test this with a client using vacancy data. During 2009 we looked at the impact of foreclosures in terms of scrubbing vacancy files. The approach was to take several campaign mail files from the first half of 2009 and run a post analysis with the vacancy data. We found that the cost of the vacancy data and the additional processing did not really produce any kind of savings or bump in response if these names were eliminated from the mailing. Matches against good quality lists were small.

What the foreclosure crisis has done is expand the category of hotline availability within the business opportunity market not only being generated via direct mail but also through the web. This would include the growth of areas such as payday loans, debt consolidation offers, and various credit assist programs.

Herb Torgersen, president, DirectInnovations Inc.
Hotline files are extremely important because of the amount of people moving, and a change in socio-economic status due to current economic conditions. Hotlines files and purchasing behavior enable direct marketers to better target prospective customers in a challenging economic climate. Acquiring the most recent hotline names is imperative. It is also extremely important that mailers have their prospect mailings run through the U.S. Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) service each and every time. When ordering files it is also imperative to check that the database owners have also have had their mailings certified through the USPS’s Coding Accuracy Support
System (CASS) system.

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