Brands enhance lead generation strategies

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Brands enhance lead generation strategies
Brands enhance lead generation strategies
With so much job turnover, it's impossible for marketers and salesmen to know if the names on the lists available for targeting are actually up-to-date. Michael Feldstein, director of marketing at Boardroom, Inc., a direct response publishing company that sells books using direct mail, infomercials and email, says he is “never sure,” if a list he has purchased is accurate and current. “That's why we always test. If a list has 50,000 names, we'll test 5,000.” Feldstein says he tries his best to buy names from “reputable companies” that he can trust — companies that “give us representative names” and don't “pre-load the test with good names.”

Despite his caution, however, he says he still buys lists that don't meet expectations sometimes. Even if he is satisfied, “there's always a drop-off in response when you expand to the bigger list. I've been in the business a long time, and it's rare that any more than 10% of a list will respond even if you have a great offer,” says Feldstein.

Feldstein works with direct marketing services firm, Creative Automation, to make sure the lists he buys are clean and up-to-date. He says Creative Automation's technology allows Boardroom to quickly identify duplicates and make sure addresses are clean and current.

“The timetable to do all of this is sped up with [Creative Automation] where you can clean and verify names quicker,” says Feldstein. “If the process takes a month longer [than it should], you'll be targeting names and addresses that are a month older.” 

The cost of bad information can be crippling for direct and digital marketers, says Jeff Hassemer, VP of product strategy for the data management services group at Experian Marketing Services.

“Each direct mail piece sent is roughly 75 cents to $1.25,” he says. “You lose that amount for every lead you lose. The cost of bad email information [is evident] on deliverability misses. Every bounce back counts against you, which can cause a whole slew of issues for your legitimate emails as well. Internet service providers hold you to deliverability thresholds. If you exceed the deliverability threshold for bad email addresses, you could get blacklisted and the rest of your email might possibly not come through.”

Duplicate identification, says Jake Hall, director of database solutions at marketing services company, SolutionSet, is a major problem when it comes to lead generation and it's something he contends every direct marketer should take into account when purchasing prospect lists.

“Many prospect lists, whether compiled or generated through hand-raising, are prone to having a good amount of duplication, particularly between different sources,” says Hall. “It's not uncommon to lose 10% of a single list or more than 50% across multiple lists going into a given mailing. Assuming a contact costs at least 60 cents to put in the mail, that could represent a cost of $60,000 on a 100,000 piece mailing.”

Hall also claims the “hygiene” of address lists can contribute to both deliverability and postage savings. SolutionSet did an evaluation for a client that found the organization could save roughly $49,000 in expenses and an additional $43,000 in revenue over the course of about 30 million pieces put in the mail by cleansing the information on its leads and taking advantage of postal bulk mailing discounts. “This is about $3 million to their bottom line from hygiene alone,” says Hall.

“Any wise marketer is going to test relatively small quantities [from a list of prospects],” says Bob Massie, CEO and owner of Marketing Informatics, a direct marketing services company. “You can do all the due diligence up front, but in the end the only way to know if your offer works well is to actively do it. It's only when somebody puts money on the table that you can actually judge effectiveness.” 

Keeping score

Understanding and optimizing the demographics of names selected for promotions and mailings can help to decrease marketing spend for unqualified leads. “We have a client with a pool of 538,000 names that applied a demographic enhancement to select the top 240,000 according to age alone,” says Hall, who declined to name any clients. “The mailer eliminated names that would have cost them $39,000.”

Monster.com, which buys data from third-party providers for its email and telemarketing campaigns, “cobbled together different solutions,” to ensure its prospect list was qualified and tracked, says Matt
Resteghini, VP of global CRM and database marketing at Monster.

The company uses Oracle's Siebel CRM for sales force automation and Unica for marketing automation. The systems allow Monster to “get leads to the sales force in an expedient manner and track the results,” says Resteghini.

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