MSGi Direct Expands Educational Expertise by Focusing on Response-Based Lists

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MSGi Direct, Boston, recently increased its already wide range of education-related list offerings with several new products, including EduBuyers, a database of more than 1.5 million buyers of educational materials.

In a market with few competitors, the new database represents a response-based source of names as an alternative to names in compiled files.

College Marketing Group, acquired by MSGi Direct in May 1999, started out in the educational market more than 30 years ago and has continued to grow ever since, said Liz Petersen, director of sales at MSGi Direct.

The most exciting new education file is the K-12 EduBuyers database of proven responders, Petersen said. The buyers on the file include teachers, librarians, principals and parents who have purchased educational products designed for classroom use.

Subjects selectable include art, English, mathematics, music, reading, science and social studies. Grade level is also a select on the file.

Buyers can be selected at home address or classroom address; multiple buyers are also available.

An offshoot of the EduBuyers list is the Hidden Buyers file, which is comprised of teachers buying products outside their subject areas.

"Our Hidden Buyers are really unique," Petersen said. No other database could provide these names because they are matched up against MSGi Direct's InfoBuyers Database, she added.

Hidden Buyers are a way for mailers to reach untapped prospects that they could not have reached before. The names are pulled by product purchased, then matched up against the entire teacher database to determine out-of-category purchases.

"It's a great way for mailers to find non-art teachers buying art supplies," Petersen said, as an example of the value of the Hidden Buyers file.

One of the competing databases in the educational market is QED, managed by American List Counsel Inc., Princeton, NJ.

QED, a division of Scholastic Inc., provides teacher information that has been verified through telephone surveys conducted at the beginning of the school year, said Carlos Sanchez, account manager at ALC.

This month, QED added the Teachers Response Database of more than 1 million direct response names.

Sanchez verified that teachers are selectable by subject taught but did not know if they would be selectable by product purchased.

MSGi creates new files and segments "based on what our clients are requesting," Petersen said.

An example of this is the Teachers New to the Profession file of educators who are under 30 years of age. The file was initially built to fill the need of a seminar company that offers training to teachers, Petersen said.

The District Demographic Index from MSGi breaks down school systems by socioeconomic factors. This allows mailers to find the schools with the most or least discretionary income and government funding.

Petersen said MSGi Direct is working to add more selectivity to the DDI file.

Delta Education late last month chose MSGi Direct to manage its file of direct mail buyers of educational products. The file has been on the market but was not heavily promoted, Petersen said.

The file consists of 100,000 catalog buyers of mathematics and science products.

MSGi Direct released its 2000-2001 education catalogs on June 26 at the annual Catalog Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco. The K-12 Mailing List Directory contains counts and information on more than 3 million educators from kindergarten through high school. The College Mailing List Directory provides almost 1 million college professors and administrators.

"I have to say, the catalogs are great this year," Petersen said. "Every year we add to them and improve them."

Of course, that doesn't mean that the company won't add new material throughout the year as well, Petersen added.

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