It is rare for a business to approach a direct marketing campaign in a list data vacuum. Even a startup probably has a list of known early stage supporters or even buyers. More mature enterprises should have a database of customers and prospects that can form the core of a larger list. Depending on what is being offered or solicited, the different types of mailing lists and data that can be used for audience list development need to be understood.
The Known Things
Response Lists – A response list is for all intents and purposes another direct marketer’s houselist. It can include documented buyers, subscribers, donors, attendees, card holders, or inquirers. It is useful as a form of look-alike list of known responders whose profiles and propensities fit your target audience in some relevant way. Response lists do well when marketing to mail order audiences, who already have displayed a willingness to act on such offers.
Compiled Lists – A compiled list is one that is assembled (compiled) from various public and information sources. These include phone books, association directories, public records such as property tax rolls, business registrations, etc. Compiled lists are well-suited to reaching large audiences, such as in election cycles. They tend to provide greater granularity of detail, especially if generated from government data.
Mix and Match – It is not unusual for a direct marketer to delve into both types of lists to construct a final list – a hybrid – that meets the targeting requirements of a campaign in a way no single list or type can. This happens when a response list may provide the identity of a particular group of people with a category-specific buying history, but lacks some demographic or firmographic data detail, such as age, title, business size or email. An accurate compiled list may offer append data to complete the contact picture.
Get Physical – Traditional list based campaigns can be augmented with alternative media opportunities, including package insert programs and blow-ins. Package insert programs are a way for a direct mail promotion to be included in outgoing orders to mail order customers. This approach connects with buyers by fueling their propensity for mail order shopping. Blow-ins are a way to be included with a direct mail campaign being run by a company – perhaps a more well known one – whose audience is similar in some meaningful way.
The Next Things
The Online Goldmine – Response and compiled data may be augmented with I.P. targeting data and intent data, documenting where a prospect has visited online, provide clues as to what a prospect has done online in the recent past, and suggest when that prospect is preparing to act in the future. Intent data tools are proliferating as more evidence is gathered regarding the role of online and related signals in mining customer attitudes and behavior.
The flexibility of using both compiled and response data produces a more focused, better targeted campaign. Complemented by emerging tools like I.P. targeting and intent data direct marketers can reach a well-defined audience, personalize each recipient’s message, and be even more relevant and timely.
The Different Types Of Mailing Lists Make All The Difference
Direct mail and mailing list data is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Response lists reveal known attributes and behaviors. Compiled lists dive into demographic and firmographic details. Alternative media and intent data enable proactive and timely outreach of offers to tightly targeted audiences.
Understanding the strengths of the different types of mailing lists and data, and how each works, alone or in combination, is valuable to all direct marketers. It is worthwhile to enlist the assistance of a skilled list broker/manager when the time comes to assess the data needs of a given campaign. The recipe for direct marketing success is yours to create.