Path2Response Leeds School of Business Partner of the Year

Leveraging Multi Buyers without Confusing Results 

Path2Response Leeds School of Business Partner of the Year

Path2Response  Leveraging Multi Buyers without Confusing Results  

Elisa Berger, Ph.D.
Principal/EVP Cross Country Computer

June 2019
Prospecting success is affected by the strategic positioning of lists in the merge purge elimination and allocation process. The creation, placement and usage of “multis”, those rented names that appear on more than one list provider’s selection, is part of this strategy. Simple variances in the treatment of multis can make all the difference between consistent, readable list results and inconsistent, error prone decision making.

Suppressing Prior Multis?

With many mailers renting the majority of their prospects from cooperative (co-op) databases, it has become very easy to suppress prior multis from new list orders in an effort to save money on names already slated to be targeted. However, this decision may not be in your best interest. Names that continue to rise to the top of predictive models have the greatest potential. If these names appear in the merge, they will match against existing multis and become new 2x+ targets for another campaign. The mailer will pay for that name in the current merge for the list(s) that it appeared on and will be able to mail an extra good prospect one more time. In addition, if your business is seasonal multis from a prior season may not perform in a subsequent season.

For those marketers who are mailing a mixture of list types, co-ops will be able to suppress prior multis but many vertical list owners will not. If multis are put in random priority in the merge, those list owners who did not suppress up-front will receive unfair credit for the names that match their list, causing performance evaluation to be skewed. Performance evaluation is best when a consistent policy is applied across all list types.

Making Multis your “BAE” (Before Anyone Else)?

Some mailers choose to place the multis in highest priority above other outside lists in the merge because 1) They have a history of performing better and 2) They have already paid for those names. When in priority, multis have a leg up in performance evaluation as the recent, hottest names served from other sources will be credited to this one segment. How would the multis perform if they were not given credit for these hotline prospects? When multis are in priority, more will be created, but since the names are not randomly allocated to other segments, no list will be charged for the rental fee. In cases where a net/net arrangement is in place, good prospects will be mailed at no charge… which is not fair to the list owner.

A little background… Back in the day, a net name arrangement meant that mailers did not have to pay for rented names that matched to their housefile because vertical list owners did not have the ability to suppress that universe when processing an order. When co-operative databases came onto the scene, net/net arrangements were sometimes negotiated. In those agreements, mailers only pay based upon the number of multis/uniques allocated to a given outside list for a campaign. The net/net agreement created an environment where mailers were paying for nets from the merge without paying for newly created multis …who were then mailed at a later date. Not cool.

Regardless of the economics, you may find that your pool of trailing multis is growing over time. This can reduce the perceived performance of all lists if suppressed or put in priority. This reduces the continuity of performance for any list, as the best names are being removed prior to be evaluated.

So, how can a mailer accomplish everything that is a concern and do so without disrupting list performance?

  • Don’t suppress prior multis. When renting lists, it is best to allow the best prospects to be sent at the time of the campaign.
  • Tag without Elevating Priority. When prior multis are put at the bottom of the merge as a tag file, the mailer can keep track of the number of times he/she has the right to mail the record without destroying the efficacy of the model or the list performance. In this manor, multis will be used to segment other lists into unique vs. multi sub groups.
  • Pay for what you mail. Keep track of newly created multis and credit the external list sources that helped generate this group.
  • Optimize your growing multi universe. Recency is a top predictor of responsiveness. As your multi-pool continues to grow, optimization can help determine which names are best to target at a given point in time. Use variables such as transaction data, demographics, gender, ZIP modeling and other non-purchase behavior data to further segment this group.

With multis not suppressed from new orders, but instead, placed in lowest priority in the merge, hotline prospect duplicates will be allocated to higher priority lists who will receive credit for what they just brought to the table. The service bureau can track the number of times a name matches to other lists in random priority and increment the multi counter for reuse accordingly. Everyone wins. Current list performance is not diminished by omitting great records in the modeling process. The mailer wins because a useful pool of multis is tracked to be subsequently targeted. And lastly, the unethical practice of treating multis as housefile records while continuing to increment their counter and remail at a later date, is eliminated.

Cross Country Computer specializes in bringing strategic solutions within the reach of all companies seeking to evolve their methods and turn the ROI equation back in their favor. Our industry experts and robust data management solutions make it easier for marketers to acquire, retain and develop valuable customers. Our core competencies include all things data management: Database creation and hosting, merge purge, matchback, data hygiene, email deployment and data appends. Learn more at or call 631-851-4234.

About Path2Response

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