Posted by Brian Berg Google+
Considering mailing to licensed professionals in the medical field? Before you do, there are couple things you should know.
Where do the names and addresses come from?
Many mailing list providers draw their licensed professionals mailing list data from one or more sources. But there's truly only a few places this type of data can be drawn from. Since many professionals must renew their license with the state in which they practice, the state is a obvious first place to look. Each state releases information about who is licensed in a particular field. Data of this type can also be drawn from organizations that capture memberships in a particular field such as the AMA (American Medical Association).
The AMA does directly sell their list of members (and non-members) to direct mail marketers. There are only a few licensed agents of the AMA file and the cost for such a file is considerably more expensive than state licensed data. It should be also noted that the AMA will not release a mailing list of ONLY AMA members. They instead, blend their members with non-members. There are many other "managed" mailing list properties, i.e., magazine subscribers, smaller industry specific organizations, etc. But most of these other "managed" sources are considerable smaller in size and therefore not ideal for small geo markets.
What exactly does updating mean?
Updating is a term used loosely in the mailing list industry. Since the mailing list brokers themselves are not required to hold a license, there's little regulation or standard for how to define "updating". When you are told the list is updated monthly or quarterly, one might assume that the list has been completely recreated.
This may be true for many kinds of data but highly unlikely with the Licensed Professional File. More often than not, the Licensed Professionals Database is "updated" monthly meaning that the names and addresses have been processed through the NCOA (National Change Of Address). This process only corrects the location of an individual or business if they've submitted a change of address with the USPS (United States Post Office). More often than not, professionals are added to or removed from the database only once a year. Some "providers" make claim that the database they compile is newer than it really is. In fact, some files may not be "re-built" for several years.
Once a licensed professional always a licensed professional
The main reason "providers" will go so long is because, over time, very few changes actually take place on this type of database. The cost of re-building a database such as this exceeds the benefit, thus, a little data hygiene is all that is applied. If you're in the market for a mailing list and aren't sure when it makes sense to pay extra for a better list, give BB Direct a call at (866) 501-6273, or visit us on the web. We'll be happy to help you with your direct mail data strategy. For one, not all licensed mailing lists are the same. When shopping for a licensed professionals mailing list, ask about how often the list is updated. And not just, when, but how do they define updating.