Fingerhut mails up to 120 catalogs per year to each of its 7 million custom
ers. With this dense mail plan and mailing decisions made independently for
each catalog, many customers were receiving redundant and unproductive cat
alogs. To identify and eliminate this excessive operational expense, IBM an
d Fingerhut together developed an optimization system that selects the most
profitable sequence of catalogs, called a mail stream, for each customer.
With mail streams, Fingerhut makes better mailing decisions at the customer
level, resulting in increased profits. Today, Fingerhut runs this applicat
ion weekly to find the most profitable mail stream for each customer.