The Hidden Treasures of Compiled Lists

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Just like the discount furniture store that offers name-brand-quality furniture at a fraction of the cost, compiled lists offer valuable benefits without the fancy name or logo. As with discount merchants, all compilers are different. When shopping for compiled lists, there are several things to consider that will affect the decision to choose one compiled list over another.


The creativity of the list compiler is a factor. The number of sources used is important as well as whether the compiler constantly adds new sources and selects to its list.


Test the salesperson's representation of the list. He or she should show knowledge of the selects and source of the list and give answers to all of your questions. The recommendations made by a sales professional should be targeted toward your specific mailer and offer.


Inquire whether hotline and mail-order buyer selects are available to help the list perform for your direct mail offer. For a telemarketing offer, you will want to know whether hotlines with phones and telemarketing-sourced buyers are selectable.


Find out what other direct marketers are continuing on the list. Unless the list is new to the market, this will ensure that it is proven direct mail responsive. If any of your competitors use the list successfully, that's a great indication that you should, too.


If your offer requires a hard-to-find or unavailable select, ask the compiler to create a custom list for your offer. One time a broker was searching for a list of magicians, and only a compiled list owner could provide this select - like magic!


Once you know the basics about compiled lists, you can look deeper to discover the hidden treasures they offer.


Compiled lists provide access to unique secondhand transactional data. Direct response sources that won't reveal their name because of customer privacy concerns often will share their data with a list compiler for a royalty or in exchange for data. This valued data is unavailable elsewhere. For instance, one list compiler gathers records on 90,000 new golf product buyers monthly from a reputable golf merchandise company whose customer list is unavailable elsewhere. Why not test these for a golf offer?


They also provide multiple-source survey and self-reported data. The list owner validates the data by multiple matches of one record to a demographic or lifestyle interest, thereby ruling out a one-time interest or a gift purchase. Most response lists contain only information about purchases from one company, not multiple sources.


Experienced list compilers can find ways to gather data for a select that you need to create a custom list for your mailer and offer. If a mailer wants to send a specific offer to fly fishermen, and no list on the market reaches that interest, a list compiler may be able to scour his myriad sources and find that select. Also, if there is a growing need for a certain select in the industry, such as gay and lesbian data, a compiler could search for new sources of that demographic.


While catalogers, publishers and other response list owners need to meet list rental budgets to contribute to their company's operating expenses or offset their mailing or advertising costs, compiled list owners have no such pressures. Thus, compiled lists generally offer more flexibility in terms of pricing and nets to meet the needs of mailers.


Compiled lists offer robust volumes compared with many response lists. With multiple sources of data, a consumer may not be identified as a continuity club member from one data source, but may be identified as joining a club from another data source. Where single-source lists may have missed that consumer's direct response club joining, multi-source lists may pick it up, thereby offering higher volumes of club members as well as other buyer behaviors and interests.


Compiled lists are not best for every mailer. Mailers just starting out should rent names from their best prospect lists first. However, compiled lists are a great option for:


· Mailers with tight geographic, demographic or interest selects. An example would be a regional charity, school, organization, entertainment outlet or retail store looking to reach people with a certain age or interest within a certain number of miles of its location to attend an on-site event.


· Mailers who need to rent great volumes of names because of low nets, large house files or credit screening. This is especially true for credit card mailers or other credit offers.


· Offers targeted to a specific demographic or interest, such as a vertical offer. One example is an African-American collectibles offer seeking African-Americans who are collectors and also mail-order buyers. Each of these attributes of ethnicity, interest in collectibles and recency of mail-order purchase can be gathered separately and put together by a compiler to reach the specialized select.


· Mailers with special requirements not usually approved by response list owners, such as telemarketing, unlimited use or modeling. Compiled list owners incur less risk allowing such offers than do response list owners such as catalogers and publishers, who have a direct relationship with their customers.


· Mailers who exhausted the universe of response list possibilities. For example, there are only so many history buffs, and once you've reached those who subscribed to a history magazine and book club, compiled lists offer a great way to reach the rest.


So the next time you are out shopping for a new Serta, Sealy or Simmons, won't you consider the cost savings and value of the store-brand mattress as well?


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