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  • Simon Remington

Top 5 overlooked aspects when buying a list


The longer I work in this industry, the more I am convinced that small details can make a big difference to the outcome of any campaign.

Here are five to consider. Some may seem trivial but the smallest detail can have a major bearing on the outcome.

Excluding customers

If you received a mail-out from your bank offering a special deal to switch your home loan, it would be quite unprofessional if your home loan was already with them. In addition to that, you might be a little upset to see a better deal which you missed out on.

Unless you are happy for existing customers to be included, either the company who sells you the list or your mail-house will need to remove them. This is referred to as de-duplication and a straight forward process.

Excluding competitors

Removing your competitors from a list is often an afterthought.

While they may not be numerous, you are alerting them to your activity, demonstrating a lack of your own attention to detail (which gives them confidence) plus a waste of money.

We can exclude by industry or business names.

Coding lists

If you rent a list and mail it in conjunction with your own, a simple code will save you a lot of time. Above the addressee details simply print a code for each such as RNTLST or CUSTFILE so you can easily separate the returned mail.

Over the years we have had many clients send back returned mail which was mixed with other lists or their own customer file. In that situation suppliers are not willing to sort their list out from the others and rebates are not possible.

Testing more than one offer

If you are going to spend thousands of dollars on a direct market campaign, yes you want to generate business but you also want to find out what works best. At a minimum you need to be testing two mail pieces, emails, faxes or call scripts.

Make sure the list is randomly split so you can glean meaningful insight.

Competitor activity

While a list supplier won't name a company who has used their list, they are often willing to advise if a company in your sector has recently ordered.

You might rent the perfect list, come up with a cracking offer using a well-executed piece and still fail if a competitor used the list in recent days.


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