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Choosing a Mailing List Broker

Posted by Brian Berg Google+


When considering a mailing list provider, you should consider many aspects of their ability.  Before your next direct mail campaign, consider reviewing a number of these important points while interviewing your potential mailing list broker. First of all, consider your naivety in this process. 


Have you prepared for a direct mail marketing campaign and carried it through from start to finish with success?  What kinds of experience can you yourself draw from?  Are there others you know that might could offer advise or insight to your mailing list provider selection process? Consider the following helpful tips to increase the likelihood you’ll find the right data for your campaign needs.


1. When it comes to providers, generally speaking, a mailing list broker will do a better job in representing you and your direct mail marketing needs over going directly to the source of data.  Consider a mailing list broker as a buyers again.  When you go directly to the compiler of data, you won’t find the compiler sales representative suggesting that you go elsewhere because they aren’t right for your request.  Since not all data is compiled the same, there are subtle differences in the quality of data and coverage of elemental information.  We tend to find that Compiler A is better at tracking and capturing senior age information than Compiler B.  Your broker should know these differences and be able to point them out to you.


2. Mailing list brokers tend to specialize in certain vertical markets.  While one mailing list broker focuses on the smaller end-user market, others will focus on the larger volume mailers who resell print and mailing services as well as the mailing list data you provide.  Ask yourself if the mailing list provider you are interviewing has the experience with your industry.  Ask for references and ask to provide several examples.  Many mailing list brokers are good sales people who can talk data, but asking for specific examples stops many inexperienced mailing list brokers from attempting make up stories.


3. Consider a mailing list provider who you feel good about when you talk with them.  These guys are people too and a lot can be said for your gut feeling.


4. Does the mailing list broker get involved with measurement of response rates or just sell you the list and collect your direct mail campaign money?  A good mailing list provider can set proper expectations on deliverability and accuracy.


5. Can your mailing list broker clearly explain where the mailing list data comes from and how it’s compiled?  Does he/she know when the last time the file was updated?  Look for a mailing list provider who’s well versed in the details of the mailing list you are seeking.  If your mailing list broker struggles with the source of the mailing list, he/she may be repackaging the database information from a source you’ve already tested wasting your time and precious campaign dollars.


6. Consider only those mailing list provider who can put details in writing.  Make sure they can provide you with a clear description of what how the mailing list was created.


7. A good mailing list broker should be able to provide references of direct mail marketers who they’ve worked with in the past.  Call on these references and have a heart to heart conversation with them about considering this person.


8. Can your mailing list broker explain the strengths and weaknesses of the mailing lists they are providing?  Compare their recommendation list with other mailing list brokers and refer to your gut feeling on who’s more qualified.