List Resources Boost Integrated Efforts

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It is nothing new to say that integration is the key to an effective marketing campaign. Today, however, the number of marketing channels is rapidly increasing, given the Internet's growth and the advent of other new multimedia tools.


Smart marketers have an increasing need to identify, reach and influence customers and prospects in both online and offline environments, using all or a combination of media channels.


The best integrated marketing campaigns optimize all delivery channels and include focused messages appropriate to both the type of media and the target audience.


Though mailing lists have always been a resource for the traditional direct marketing channel, they also are now being used more strategically and in multiple media to reach customers and prospects as well as to drive messages to the other delivery vehicles.


For example, a single list could be needed by a marketer for an e-mail distribution, a telemarketing promotion and, in online advertising, to target online promotions to a select group of consumers.


Effectively executing a targeted, integrated marketing program such as this using traditional list resources can be a challenge.


Traditional resources often require extensive selection processing to identify specific target audiences and can become costly before yielding a segment appropriate to the marketer's product or service offering. Further, if a marketer wants to integrate various media channels as well as its messages, it may have to buy lists from multiple sources and combine the individual data sets with a match/merge/purge process before mailing or e-mailing. This can be difficult and time-consuming when some list resources offer only e-mail and others provide only name and address.


New integrated direct marketing resources are emerging, however, that eliminate several steps a marketer would normally take in selecting a targeted list.


There are now files that offer predefined targets for groups such as affluent families, Web-savvy sports enthusiasts, financial investors, etc. In some cases, such files begin with closely defined core demographics and are further refined or filtered to segment-specific types of behavior such as online product purchase.


And for even greater response potential, marketers may take advantage of similar list resources that have modeled segmentation features.


Using such advanced targeting approaches, marketers may optimize campaign performance and realize improved response, reduced cost and reduced time to market.


Some targeted list resources also offer e-mail, name and address in a single database, reducing legwork for the marketer that is developing a campaign for delivery in multimedia channels.


Marketers can now deliver a direct mail piece and reinforce their direct mail messages with a follow-up e-mail to the same list. Or, a marketer may send a promotional e-mail to drive customers to its Web site using the same list resource that it used for its direct mail piece.


With data-rich resources, marketers will minimize the time and aggravation of working with multiple list providers and reduce their merge/purge processing requirements. These resources also can ensure dual-message delivery from the same source, lower processing costs and integrated message reinforcement.


Last, there are now full-service or turnkey solutions available to the integrated direct marketer. These resources provide marketers with lists that allow them to reach a targeted customer group by mail and e-mail, and provide creative development, lettershop and back-end analysis. These one-stop resources deliver benefits to mailers - time savings and integrated targeting - as well as more cost-effective marketing solutions.


Though it may seem that list resources are a more tactical element of your marketing campaign, careful selection for service and targeting can be a strategic aspect that can make or break an integrated marketing campaign.


• Cate Mumford is director of offline products at Naviant Inc., Newtown Square, PA.
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