Not All Marketing Lists Are Created Equal

You’re ready to launch your next big direct marketing campaign.  The offer is set, the creative piece is ready, now you need to determine who to send it to.  You’ve put in a tremendous effort to create an attractive direct marketing piece with a great offer.  Effective marketing is all about getting the right message, to the right prospect, at the right time.  When it comes to getting your message to the right prospect, the quality of the data in your list has a direct influence on the success of your campaign.

The Importance of Coverage

Depth of coverage is a critical measuring stick for evaluating the overall penetration and effectiveness of a direct-marketing campaign. The greater the coverage, the more likely a campaign will be successful in reaching an optimal number of prospective customers. With larger contact quantities, more sales conversions are possible. While you may not be interested in a national campaign, greater coverage also means that more individuals and households are available within your local market, ensuring that you reach as many people in your marketable area as possible.

Modeled vs. Actual Data

A common question we receive from businesses purchasing lists is, “How do we know the specific demographics of the prospect?”  List providers compile data from a variety of sources.  In some cases, customers provide actual data. It is also common practice for data suppliers to develop predictive models to fill in data elements where the information is unavailable or unknown.  Modeled data is not necessarily bad and enables you to reach a larger audience.  However, many suppliers do not indicate if the data provided is based on known information or if it is an estimate from a model. Having the ability to differentiate between known versus inferred data is often important to the success of your campaign. For example, if your marketing campaign is specifically tied to prospects of a certain age, then it’s important that you select prospects with known age data rather than modeled.  If however, your campaign targets a broader age range, then you may have greater coverage by including known and modeled data.  What’s important is knowing the kind of data that is available in order to make the best match to your campaign.

Don’t Be Fooled by Higher Counts

It is often said that direct marketing follows the law of large numbers. You need to get your message to as many people as possible.  While there is some truth to this approach, with limited budgets, small business marketers need to use each dollar wisely. Spending limited funds on bad data can seriously impact the effectiveness of your campaigns. Some list providers will include records in their data files that may not be the most accurate, such as unoccupied, deceased, commercial, or households that have moved, resulting in significantly inflated counts.   You may think that you are getting a much larger list of prospects, but often it is more important to have a smaller, but highly clean, prospect list, rather than one that may be full of irrelevant or bad data.

The Bottom Line

In the world of direct marketing, not all marketing lists are created equal.  Selecting the right list will enable you to accurately target and segment your prospects which will help to improve both your customer experience and your bottom line.