List Primer Part III: Selecting The Right List Brokerage For Your Offer
There are thousands of lists on the market and there are plenty of list brokers you can choose from to match up your catalog and its customers to the best prospects. And like any industry, there are some great list brokerages and some sleazy ones.
A little research goes a long way when searching for the right list broker or brokerage. Bottom line: You want to find the broker who handles clients that are similar to you. For example, if you’re an apparel cataloger, find a list brokerage that handles many apparel catalog titles. If you serve a tight niche, find a list broker that also serves that space. And of course, if you’re a B-to-B mailer, look for one that specializes in B-to-B lists.
Most list brokerages also manage lists. If they manage lists from catalogers that closely resemble yours, you can tap into a great deal of competitive intelligence. That’s not to say that information about your competitors will be given to you specifically. But a list company can put its smarts into putting a plan together for you that can drive new customer acquisitions.
Selecting a list broker comes down to one word: affinity. Affinity to your products, your category and your customers.
In searching for the right list broker for your business, seek out the few that fit on the affinity front, then put them to the test. Get a detailed proposal that provides all the bells and whistles, such as datacards, list usage (which mailers have recently used the lists the broker is recommending, who tested these lists, and, if available, who continued to use the lists again).
When you receive the package with the list recommendation, you should also get copies of the competitors’ catalogs, mailers, etc. Then ask how the names on this list were derived, and by seeing the actual vehicle or vehicles that drove the names onto the list, you can better understand why you would want to test this list. (Blogger’s note: Next week I’ll discuss how to take a list recommendation and whittle it down to the specific lists to test.)
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.