Frustrated by going it alone on purchasing your direct marketing lists?

The direct marketing list has been consistently proven over time to be the most critical component to direct marketing campaign success.  In fact, most research indicates that the list accounts for 40% of a campaign’s success – more than creative, and more than the offer.  List acquisition has also been proven to be an incredibly frustrating, costly, and time-consuming process. There are many, many list options out there and it can be difficult to filter through these to determine what the best options might be.
After first determining the target audience for a client’s campaign, I begin the list selection process, considering whether to research from the compiled database lists that are available, from the vast universe of niche specialty lists, or perhaps both.  My experience as a list broker has taught me that the following are important to my clients when “shopping” on their behalf for the best marketing lists:

  • What is the reputation of the list source (list freshness, who else buys their list, etc.)?
  • Can we find lists that are hard to find except through broker channels?
  • Can we provide multiple options with pros and cons for each option?
  •  What additional insight, knowledge or expertise can we bring to the table?

An example of this last point is our experience in using multi-sourcing of compiled lists. No one source has ALL the information about a household, therefore we often use this tool to maximize available compiled lists and improve marketing campaigns. Here are some of the common list concerns that can be addressed through multi-sourcing:

  • Reduces list fatigue – with a single source, you wind up mailing same people over and over, reducing response
  • Increases list counts – especially important when applying multiple demographic selects shrinks the pool of available names, or there is a limited geography
  • Decreases list costs –  multi-source allows you to obtain names from different lists but not paying for duplicate names

To illustrate how multi-sourcing can work, one of our clients started multi-sourcing a prospect list earlier this year, and thus far, is seeing a 45% increase in available names to be mailed. This tool is a great option for many marketers buying lists, but so far we have found one drawback – a minimum number of purchased names is typically required.
I’ve only presented a small slice of the many nuances that are part of the process of making smart, fully maximized list purchases.  The world of marketing lists continues to evolve and change, with more options available all the time that allow me to help our clients in even more ways!

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