Data Cards: An Indispensable Tool
Editor’s Note: The original article from which this was adapted, “Data Cards: Guilty Until Proven Innocent” by Hallie Mummert, was based largely on the views of Brian Kurtz of Boardroom Reports. It appeared in the October 1994 issue of Target Marketing magazine. Updated information has been added here by Linda Huntoon, executive vice president of Direct Media.
List research typically begins with the data card. This paper (or electronic) sales vehicle is used by list owners and managers to market the vital statistics (e.g., size, price, profile, selects, minimum order, address options) on the lists they represent.
For the cataloger in search of lists to rent, data cards are helpful. But they’re a marketing vehicle and should be viewed as such.
It was for this reason that Brian Kurtz, executive vice president of Boardroom Inc., a publisher of newsletters and books, made the startling pronouncement way back in 1994 (in an article in Target Marketing magazine) that all data cards are “guilty until proven innocent.” This fact remains true today.
So although the data card shoud not be your only source of information, it gives you an idea of what other questions to ask to get a clearer picture of the list. Here are the areas Kurtz urged mailers to question, along with some current thinking from Linda Huntoon, executive vice president, Direct Media.