Children's Lists = Mail Order Parents

Children's lists offer mailers a great opportunity — purchasing parents who not only buy for their children but also for themselves. Since brokers and mailers are always looking for new sources of names, these lists have been highlighted because they are not often considered for adult-oriented appeals.

There are approximately 70 direct mail response children's lists available in the catalog and publishing markets. Of course, mailers of children's offers are well aware of these files; but what about marketers trying to reach adults? Whether you mail a catalog, book, subscription, fundraising or membership offer, children's lists are worth a closer look.

* Children's Catalog Lists. Many children's catalogers target families with a high demographic profile. These lists are perfect for catalogers in the accessories, apparel, gift and home furnishings markets. Plus, the records are in the parent's name, so you are directly addressing the buyer. They also are an excellent opportunity for fundraising and membership offers, providing names of educated buyers who are concerned for the future welfare of their families.

Lists like Childcraft, Toys to Grow On, Constructive Playthings, Hanna Andersson, Children's Wear Digest and Talbot's Kids all offer an upscale buyer profile and continuation usage from non-affinity mailers that support this marketing approach.

Check also to see if the catalog includes adult apparel and accessories, like Hanna Andersson. You may want to test a product selection with your first use of the list.

* Children's Publishing Lists. Children's interests are often the same as their parents. Parents influence their children's educational, social and spiritual values, as well as interests and hobbies. As marketers, we can make some assumptions about the parents' interests based upon the subject matter of their children's book or subscription purchases.

Now there is another factor to consider when using childrenís publishing lists. In most cases, the address will need to be title slugged because the mailing records include the childís name. Even for childrenís offers, the list owners of these files will not release the childís name for privacy reasons. Therefore, your mail piece will have to be addressed with a title. To get the full name of the parent in a subscriber household you will need to use either the gift giver segment or enhancement information.

* Enhancements. Not many children's lists offer enhancements for better segmentation, but it makes sense to do so, especially if the list owner is hoping to attract more non-affinity usage. Kids Discover and Hanna Andersson are two lists that will be making them available in the near future.

Enhancements can provide both demographic and lifestyle selections for better targeting. Mailers across a variety of categories can then segment by specific age, income or lifestyle criteria. For example, the home market could select female homeowners, ages 35-50 with household incomes of $60,000, or a home decorating, cooking or gardening interest. Of course, whatever the variation, the ultimate quantity selected needs to be more than just a test size.

In addition, the first name of an adult in the subscriber household can be appended to the list enabling mailers to address a parent with a full name. Demographic packages usually include marital status and gender for the adult in the household, so even if the first name has not been appended, you will at least know whether to address the parent as a Mr., Mrs. or Ms.

* Multis. Another valuable selection to look for is multisubscribers and multibuyers. Some publishers of multiple magazine or book offers make these names available in their master files. This information is transactional, not enhancement data, and indicates a higher average order and propensity to respond. Catalogers testing children's publishing files may find this a key segment.

* Gift Givers. The gift giver segments are also worth looking into on children's publishing files. The gift givers are the parents, relatives and friends who purchased the subscription or book offer for the child. These records are in the adult name. However, when using the names, you will not always reach the household of the recipient. In fact, some gift giver files do not include parent names, while others are a mix of parents, relatives and friends. The interest affinity between the relatives/friends and recipient may not be as strong as with the parent/child relationship. So, if the subject matter is determining your choice of a list, it is important to make the distinction when selecting. Do you want to reach the parents, relatives or friends or both? All in all, gift giver lists are another viable prospecting option for adult-related offers.

* Price Incentives. Both children's publishing and catalog lists offer price incentives for non-affinity mailers to test the files. Most have reduced base rates for fundraising and membership offers. Some catalogers offer special publishing rates, while some publishers offer special catalog rates. The point is that the majority of these lists offer excellent opportunities for tapping into new audiences at an attractive rate. In addition to the price incentives, hopefully, you are encouraged by the above ideas to test the children's list marketplace for your adult-oriented appeals. You may end up reaching mail-order parents that have previously been overlooked.

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