FAQs – Advanced

What is PATH?
It is important to periodically take a step back from the detailed process of list planning and look at your program from a more macro level. PATH is an acronym for Performance Analysis and Trends Highlights and that’s exactly what this review looks at. Names in the News provides an overview of your past year acquisition results and compares them to previous years and to results for similar mailers. PATH looks at various aspects of your program, such as key metrics, list testing, top volume lists, and list markets. Additionally, if available, we incorporate long-term value results into the analysis.

While we conduct PATH yearly for current clients with large mail programs, when we take you on as a new client we will conduct a List Audit which has a similar focus as PATH.

Can you help me with yearly budgeting for my acquisition program?
Yes, Names in the News has helped many clients with budgeting for their programs, ranging from broad mail volume/timing and monthly projections to full list and package level plans. We will create budgeting plans and tools tailored to your needs and with interactive capabilities so that you can assess different scenarios with ease.

How do you help me find the best list for my market audience?
Every mailer is different. Names in the News starts by looking at what lists have worked for similar mailers in your market. Then we further refine by assessing what type of package you’ll be offering (e.g., a premium offer vs. a mission-based piece). Different lists are relatively more responsive depending on the package type. Of course, we will also look specifically at your organization and package to identify any particulars that might suggest mailing to one type of list or another.

What is Acquisition Advisor?
Acquisition Advisor is Names in the News’ semi-annual review of industry performance and trends. Based on our clients’ performance and that of other participants, the Advisor keeps you up to date on what’s going on in the direct mail market. This includes both acquisition direct mail findings and, as our datasets grow, trends in long-term value and online donations. We issue the half year Advisor in September and the end of year issue in March. We’d like you to bring your list planning business to us, but even if you’re not quite ready for that, please contact us to participate in Acquisition Advisor and receive this must-have industry review.

Praise for Aquisition Advisor:

Thank you for providing the Aquisition Advisor! I love this report and look forward to its release! Good job to you all for providing it. It’s really an industry standout.

Jessica Harrington, Vice President, Schultz & Williams

What are the key metrics you use to assess and project performance?
Names in the News creates mailplans that are tailored to your needs and to the goals of your organization. Whichever metric you use or addresses your goals, we will include and sort by in our plans, whether it’s return rate, net cost per donor, cost per dollar raised, or even 12 month (long-term) net revenue.

Are zip models effective?
Zip models are often effective but not always. Names in the News will help you assess whether your program is a strong candidate for zip modeling, and if so, work with you to implement and test zips. One consideration is what you hope to achieve with Zips. Often this modeling is more effective at lifting average gift than response rate. If you’re looking for the latter, another approach such as response-oriented compiled/modeled work may be better suited to your goals.

What is a good response rate for a mailing?
This is dependent on a variety of factors. What market are you in? Do you mail a premium or mission-based package, or both? How many pieces do you mail per mailing/year? Are you a national or regional mailer? Considering all these factors and more, Names in the News will help put your results in perspective. One trend noted throughout the market, however, is that return rates have been falling over the past decade.

Is there a best time of year to mail?
The best time to mail varies by program. We usually see that mailers generally put forth a lot of effort and get strong response at the beginning of their Fiscal Years. That being said, there is often increased performance, especially in higher average gifts, during the holiday season and softer performance in the Spring and Summer. Names in the News can help you test mail timing to be sure you’re not missing out on opportunities.

Contact us today to get started.