MeritDirect Co-Op Attendees Mine 150 Years of Experience

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HARRISON, NY -- Getting the most from compiled databases was on the minds of people at yesterday's MeritDirect Co-op, especially after a session by a panel of data compilation experts boasting well over 150 years of DM experience among them.

Two ways that direct mailers can increase response rates and return on investment with compiled databases are by mailing fewer duplicates and leveraging corporate linkage, said Andrew Kapochunas, senior consultant, customer information management at D&B. Knowing what companies are related through corporate ownership can save on mailings and increase response.

Kapochunas also suggested leveraging relationships with sister firms owned by the same corporation, even offering enterprise-wide discounts. D&B has a database with more than 27 million unique company names and addresses.

Credit information is another way to use compiled databases to their fullest, according to a second panelist.

"We can analyze what is going on credit-wise in a particular business," said Rodney Cooper, national client executive at Experian. Experian's National Business Database has 16 million businesses, on which Experian has credit data for 10 million.

Credit expansion and credit score are the most predictive factors, he said. Credit data also can help marketers minimize risk. Though the initial focus of the credit data service was the financial industry, Cooper urged catalogers to look into it as well.

Compiled lists for reaching schools, healthcare facilities, government and religious groups also are available, said John Hood, president of MCH, which specializes in business-to-institution lists.

But the market should be approached differently than the general BTB market. Marketers should consider BTI if vertical markets represent a high sales potential and when they can afford specialized marketing, he said.

Martin Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates LLC, is a specialist in yellow page compilations. Though the yellow pages are the basis for most compiled BTB files, marketers must know the details of each file. Coughlin advised marketers to ask for the source of the data, how often it updates and to consider how the category headings are translated into standard industry classification codes.

"Categories aren't always as specific as they should be," he said.

Linda Pickering, senior vice president at MeritDirect, suggested a twofold approach to compiled lists. She urged using them to overlay mailers' house files as well as for prospecting.

Pickering likened response lists to racehorses and compiled lists to workhorses, and said both have a place in a BTB campaign.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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