Once a Broker, Now an Acquisition Specialist

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List brokers provide more services than their name implies. They are like symphony maestros. In the past they just played the trombone, now they have acquired expertise to direct all the instruments and put together full marketing plans. Instead of just going out and renting response lists, brokers know when a client needs compiled data, demographic overlays or merge/purge; what modeling services need to be added to the mix; and the perfect finale of National Change of Address processing and postal presorting. The symphony of services is the approach of the future, and some list brokers may already be offering this.

For example, if you want to mail an offer for an upscale ink pen, brokers can find the vertical lists, response lists and compiled information; overlay demographics such as age and income; do the computer merge/purge directly and run the list through NCOA and postal presort to deliver one list to your lettershop or one tape to your computer processing house.

Renting a list is only one instrument. Database marketing and data processing open entirely new sections of the band. These services help brokers identify your most responsive prospects, maximize your profile mailing universe and distinguish among unique market segments. Brokers can help identify to whom you should be mailing, the best time to mail, the type of promotion and if a phone call is better than a mailing.

One way we do that is through targeting your premium prospects before you spend money on a mailing. This profile analysis actually clones prospects most like your current, best customers. It is also possible to pinpoint the difference between your responders and non-responders through response modeling. Postal processing is another service, not traditionally offered by brokers, which is making its way into the band. There is a myriad of services to keep your database as clean and timely as possible -- meaning fewer wasted mailings and substantial postal discounts. Ask your broker about Postal Pre-Sort, NCOA Processing, LACS Processing and DSF Processing.

As the business environment becomes more competitive, it becomes increasingly important to optimize your marketing strategies for each stage of the customer lifecycle -- customer acquisition, upsell, retention and reactivation. Imagine your broker providing you with the ability for list fulfillment and data analysis from your desktop via a secure Internet connection. It is happening today. Internet technology has made it possible to access your data in real time and manage one or several databases online. So, you can do the slicing and dicing yourself. Just think, when you're still at work at 8 p.m. or playing catch-up over the weekend, you don't have to wait for your broker to be in the office to run queries and counts. Are you aware of any online access to your broker?

Ask your "acquisition specialist" about all the instruments he can direct. If you don't already know, you'll certainly be surprised by what you hear. Enjoy the symphony!
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