With over 75,000 different lists on the market and unlimited creative strategies, it’s extremely important to use an experienced list broker to help navigate the mailing list environment.

Lists are the least expensive part of a direct mail campaign so skimping here or looking for best prices is a big mistake.

Mailing list brokers are commissioned and paid for by data owners or list owners. Since there is no extra cost to you the marketer, in using a list broker, it’s critical to use one.

There are two main categories of lists.
Compiled lists and Response lists.

Compiled lists are mainly derived from
public records and Government sources. For the consumer market and business market these compiled data sources are widely available and sold through hundreds of sources.

Compiled lists are the least desirable of all the data sources as they are the least effective data sources to use. That means your response rates will be much lower than using qualified response lists or buyer data.

The only business that should use compiled data are local retailers that are looking to saturate a neighborhood or community.

A new restaurant for example could do a postcard mailing offering a special first time customer discount. This type of marketing mail is ideal for compiled lists. A dentist or chiropractor or lawncare service could also use a compiled data source for their marketing efforts.

Compiled lists are also very inexpensive on a cost per thousand basis (CPM). Very little is known about the individual or business and the quality of the data is at the bottom of the list spectrum; you pay less because you get less.

Response lists or buyer data is the data from a known source where the individuals contained or comprising the list took very specific actions or made specific purchases that gives the mailing marketer psychographic information about that data source.

Psychographic data tells us what the individual is interested in because of their purchasing behavior and lifestyle preferences.

Response lists exist in every category of the market. Lists can be comprised of individuals at home or at business addresses. These lists can be made from subscription services of hard goods or publications, memberships to organizations, buyers from catalogs, television, radio and websites.

There are also a ton of companies that make their buyer data available from their solo direct mail efforts in every psychographic category imaginable.

This response or buyer data sells for a premium compared to a compiled list because response data delivers far superior results, often times performing at 10 to 20 times better than compiled list data sources.

So much of your success in direct mail, email or telemarketing efforts depend upon the source of the data used.

Your first step should always be to start the process with a knowledgeable and experienced list professional.

David Klein