Editor's Note

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There are few disciplines that can claim to underpin the very fabric of the direct marketing world like the successful management of lists and databases. The use of these tools can single-handedly mean the success or failure of a marketing initiative, from the smallest, most highly targeted acquisition effort to the grandest scheme.

The professionals who work for the lists and database service providers live, sleep and breathe information and, in this guide, they share their best practices and worst-case scenarios. The advice and experience within this Essential Guide runs from the most basic — from how to choose a list broker and how to approach segmentation — to the complex and specialized areas that are specific to certain vertical markets.

Our expert writers come from a wide variety of list and database companies, as well as in-house marketing departments, and by including their contact information, they agree that best practices are most valuable when shared, discussed, or even argued.

A company's relationship with its customers lives and dies by the quality of the information it holds and what it does with it, so read on.

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Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

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