I’m a new mover yet marketers are ignoring me

Having been in the direct marketing business for more than twenty five years I (like nearly all of my colleagues), am all too familiar with new mover data and its value to marketers. For those unfamiliar with direct marketing – new mover data is a highly valued commodity and the names and postal and email addresses are bought and sold at premium prices.

It should not be all that surprising that contacting a new home, co-op or condominium owner gives the marketer a golden opportunity to offer the right product or service at the right moment to people that have just moved into the neighborhood. Local eateries, services such as dry cleaners and tradesmen often tap new mover data in order to reach potential new customers. Even car dealers like to use new mover data in order to drum up new sales. New movers data can be segmented rather rigorously so that marketers can better target what they hope are the most likely new customers.

So it comes as a surprise to me that in the nearly four weeks that we’ve lived in a ‘new house’, there really has not been much in the way of offers for local (or even non-local) products and services for us – new movers. We are all too familiar with the data on both new and existing home sales here in the United States. All the more reason I say that a new mover should be more highly coveted than ever before.

I remember when we had just purchased our first home a number of years ago. At one point the Welcome Wagon lady (she had to be pushing seventy-five) came to our house while I was home alone painting. I answered the door and she asked if the owner was home. Nice. We both regrouped and she offered a basket of ‘goodies’ from local businesses (hair salon, pizzeria, dentists etc.). It was nice to get that and we definitely used the coupons and began to patronize local businesses – some that we even still patronize today.

Despite the fact that I’ve spent many years in the direct response industry I am on the do not call list. I imagine that I am far from unique in this aspect even for people in the industry. So that precludes our being called at home by local businesses. Email could be a way to reach us. But email data is not as easily matched to a new mover address – at least not anywhere as seamlessly as a postal name and address and corresponding mail piece.

Mail volume is down substantially and set to continue that trend. Perhaps we don’t make the grade as a good prospect to mail. However I sincerely doubt that.

Are there any other new movers out there? If so have you been seeing offers from local business that you can tell are aimed at you because you recently moved?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
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5 Responses to I’m a new mover yet marketers are ignoring me

  1. Mark,

    The new mover list…probably one of the cheapest investments a home improvement franchise company could ever use. I am talking about the Molly Maids, Mr Handyman, Roto Rooter…Painters, appliance care, sound system install, etc. If it is home related — they should be marketing to these people.

    I have not sold directly to the local companies — but I have been developing marketing programs for the franchisors — and I can tell you that someone at these organizations, or the franchisees, don’t understand how powerful new mover lists are.

    I honestly think there are few local companies that understand the value of marketing — and they expect to get phone calls from the yellow pages. I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to a franchisee that claims that $1 a postcard is too much (including postage). They would rather spend 1/10 of it in valpak.

    Over the past few years I have gotten much more involved in predictive modeling…and understanding who people are before you market to them. As an example, I did a direct mail piece to a group of modeled prospects for Mercedes-Benz CPO in April. That simple postcard mailer — that cost about 100k all in…directly generated over 120 million in sales.

    The key is sending to the right people…and a new mover, for many companies, is the perfect person.


  2. markkolier says:

    I always enjoy and impressed with your well thought out comments Chris. Thanks for making a contribution to the conversation and I’d like to know more about the programs you have been working on.


  3. Thanks for the kind words.

    I have spent most of my career working with retail organizations — developing marketing and PR campaigns for local store activation. So it is very important to me that campaigns are customized as economically as possible to fit the local retail environment for each store. That said, the local owner/manager needs to understand that they are part of the collective corporate brand — and the key is to thread that needle fairly.

    I have worked with over 100 franchise companies — developing programs for tens of thousands of franchisees. And after a decade of doing this — I am more and more frustrated with the ability for the local store to handle their own marketing. In the examples I gave of home service franchisees — these people are not marketers. The guy that buys a Roto Rooter is a plumber — not a marketer. So he ends up doing marketing about as well as I end up doing plumbing.

    The new mover is just the easiest example of low hanging fruit…but it certainly isn’t the only one. And I am not here to complain about handyman franchisees — this happens with luxury car dealerships. I have worked with Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, Lexus, and Porsche — and they all have the issues as the plumbers…with just larger marketing budgets.

    The last example I gave was for Mercedes. To my own surprise, MB hardly does any prospect mailing. So when I pitched it (MB is my largest client) — it was a new adventure for them. My firm develops predictive models based on current customers — essentially creating lists of households that will act just like current customers.

    This project happened in April — and we mailed a simple postcard to existing customers and to our list of ‘like’ customers that were generated out of the predictive model. The two lists acted exactly the same in terms of response rate (almost 2%)…or should I say purchase rate. So in terms of cost — for ever 100 postcards we sent out — they got 2 sales. ROI was in the 10k percent range. Just sickening…and incredible.


  4. When we moved, I relied on the Clipper Magazine published by Gannett which featured mutliple ads of local businesses. I believe it’s distributed in CT as well. You can go online too, plug in your zip & what service you’re looking for. However, when we had to spend bigger bucks, say to upgrade to granite for our kitchen countertops, I wouldn’t necessarily rely on the 1 or 2 companies who placed an ad & offered a money-off coupon in the Clipper. That’s when I would go to Angie’s list. For $60 annual fee, you can see how other homeowners rate each company/service & whether or not they’re licensed in their particular field. I’m not sure the company has a say or not, because it’s the consumer/member who supplies the info & a lot of company’s have "F" ratings. When we got a recommendation for a plumber through a friend, I was really impressed with his timeliness, work & price–so I asked him if he wanted me to contribute his co name to Angie’s list. His response was a little surprising–he already had too much buisness & didn’t want to generate anymore.
    Having been in the direct mail business, we understand the power of direct marketing & I think what Chris said is true–few local co’s understand that. But for the ones who do understand, they spend their money in the Clipper, Pennysaver or ValPaK. I learned that the hard way when I tried to sell ad space to businesses in a free magazine which featured local human interest stories, was printed 4/C on quality paper & mailed to every home in the area. I was told the circulation wasn’t broad enough. It didn’t matter that it was 10X slicker looking, more interesting & cheaper than the Pennysaver, because the Pennysaver was working fine for them. The only ads I got were from friends/colleagues/customers of the guy who started the magazine & was well known/liked in the area b/c of the printing business he ran for many yrs.
    Coming from a marketing background is a good skill set if you own your own business. If I had my own small business & wanted to tap into new movers cheaply & simply, I would just get on a real estate website & have email alerts sent to me everytime a home was bought/sold within the zips I wanted to service. Then I would design a direct mail piece on my mac–personalize as much as possible, starting off with a "welcome to the neighborhood" note, print it on my color printer, & mail it myself. I would advertise in the Clipper & get my company on Angie’s list.


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