Posted by Brian Berg Google+
The job of a mailing list broker is not merely to sell you a list. Selling you a list is but the final stage of the process. A good list broker will do far more than just sell you something. They will get to know your direct mail campaign, review your previous campaign details, evaluate what’s worked and what’s not worked, and finally make recommendations. Too often the direct mail marketer is conditioned to take full responsibility in choosing what audience they will ultimately mail. This is similar blaming Main Street for the Wall Street problems in our most recent debate over if we should have bailed out the U.S. financial system. When home buyers sought their new home and a mortgage to finance it, they relied on the lenders to tell them how much they could afford.
They trusted that their loans were properly underwritten with the home buyers best interest in mind. This too is the assumption of many a direct mail marketer trusting today’s mailing list brokers. Many mailers expect that the list broker has their interest in mind. The fact of the matter is that, just like so many mortgage brokers compensated on making a deal, many mailing list brokers focus on the sale of the list over if the list is appropriate for the campaign. It’s important for the direct mail marketer to become familiar with the experience of the mailing list broker, just as it is to become familiar with the principals of direct mail marketing. Before beginning on any direct mail campaign, it’s vital to consider your break-even point, cost per customer, if the competition is making a marginal profit while using direct mail, has direct mail worked for your business in the past, is your expectations inline with reality, is your ideal prospect attainable using an acquisition mailing list, and what message will you convey to your direct mail prospect to achieve response. These are important questions to be asking yourself but even more so, is your mailing list broker experienced enough to provide thoughtful answers to these questions? If not, you should seriously consider shopping around for another data provider.
The job of a mailing list broker goes well beyond simply running a count and placing an order. Ask your prospective mailing list broker for examples of who they’ve recently worked with in your field and what kind of repeat business have they generated from these customers. There’s truly no better way to judge if a campaign was success than if the mailer decided to mail more of the same. Does your list provider have referrals they can share with you? Take an additional day to reach out to a few of these referrals and challenge yourself to learn something from these referral mailers. The more you learn the better off you’ll be. It’s up to you to look to your list provider as a partner in your plan for success. Don’t be afraid to demand more from your mailing list broker. Successful mailers don’t get successful from getting lucky with their list choice, they are successful because they are continually learning the in’s and out’s of their campaign. Lean on your broker for help and guidance.
You’ll improve your ability to mail successfully and your mailing list broker will develop a long-lasting customer that comes back over and over again.