by Kent Moon, President, The Addressers
Bob Stone, author of “Direct Marketing Methods,” one of the bibles of the direct marketing field, has this to say about the most important factors in success with direct marketing efforts:
“Maximizing direct mail success depends first upon the lists you use, second upon the offers you make, and third upon the copy and graphics you create.”
So from this you can see that the list that you send to is the most important factor in the success of any direct mail campaign, much more so than the offer or the creative elements.
Database management companies can provide a variety of services that can improve the quality of your mailing lists and thus improve the success rate of your mailings.
Demographic Append or “Overlays”: A database management company can add value to your database by appending demographic information to the list. This is also called an “overlays” or “list enhancements.” This can include data like lifestyle characteristics, income, age, marital status, and likelihood to respond by mail or phone. This data can be appended to lists that you already have by comparing it to other lists. By appending demographic information that is relevant to your product or service offering, you can increase response. We have over 500 demographics, psychographics, and lifestyle elements available.
Telephone Append: Add phone number to your existing database, allowing you to do phone follow up.
Merge/Purge: According to Bob Stone, “Names that appear on two or more lists – will outpull any single list from which these names have been extracted.”
List Rental Management & Fulfillment: A database management company can purchase or rent any type of list that you would need, and will also warehouse your master database. There are a wide variety of lists available for rent or purchase, and an experienced broker can help find the right type of list for you. Here are some of the types of lists that are available:
1. Compiled Lists: These lists are made from sources like the Yellow Pages and White Pages, rosters and membership rolls, or vehicle registration lists. Many companies that make compiled lists call each company or person and get additional information, such as contact names, revenue size, number of employees, etc. You can then select lists according to revenue size, SIC code, or only within certain states, zip codes or area codes.
2. House Lists or Central Files: This is a list you put together from people who have bought something from you, or people who inquired about your products and services but not yet bought something. You want to structure your database so that it is recorded in each customer record what the person bought, how much he bought (in dollar volume), and what date. With people who inquired but didn't buy, I personally recommend keeping them in the same database, but clearly marked as to which ones are customers or not. A database services company can help you organize and structure your list for the best results.
3. Response Lists: These are basically other people's house lists. They are people who responded to other companies' promo or bought something from them. The major advantage to you is that you can select lists from companies that sell products related to yours, so that if they inquired about the other product they would likely be interested in yours too.
4. Magazine Circulation Lists: These lists are very valuable especially with trade publications that service the market you sell to. Most trade publications will rent their lists out, usually for one time usage only, and usually they're fairly expensive. But often you can get a great response from these lists so it is worth the expense.
5. Demographically Specific Consumer Lists: These are lists that are compiled of people who have very specific interests or demographic traits, such as people who own their own home, seniors over 60, pool owners, boat owners, Republicans, people who own cats, or people who earn over $100,000 a year.
An experienced database management company can help in finding, managing, storing or enhancing your databases so as to increase your level of success in direct marketing.