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Which mailing list is best?

Posted by Brian Berg Google+


How does the direct mail marketer narrow down his/her search for the most ideal mailing list for their campaign needs? 


This task isn’t always as easy as it might first appear.  Ask any business owner what their ideal customers “look like” and they’ll likely provide a detailed description of who they want to target.  But not all detailed descriptions can be recreated from the traditional databases available. 


Below is a quick look at some of the more popular mailing list databases and their associated uses.


Resident Occupant Saturation Type Campaigns

This file allows you to blanket an area around a store location.  It contains every deliverable postal point in a given market and does not include a personalized name, but rather a title slug of your choosing. There is little in the way of selectability with this type of list but because the file is provided in carrier route walk-sequence, the mailer achieves the maximum postal discount available. 


This mailing list is ideal for reaching everyone who receives the mail within a radius of a store location.  Only those offers applicable to “everyone” are good for this type of data. Consider this file for the following types of businesses and organizations: Pizza delivery service, grocery stores, churches, retail store promotions, restaurants, etc...


Consumer Database with Demographic Selects

This file includes only those mailing address records where a name can be identified.  It comprises of most of the population and includes various demographic selects such as age, estimated income, homeowner/renter, length of residence, gender, marital status, presence of child, etc…


This file is ideal for offers where the mailer want to target most of the people in a given area but suppress only those who simply do not fit the ideal profile.  This file is typically used for generating foot traffic into a store location, event, or specialized restaurant. 


The database is used for identifying segments of the population that, in general, are all a potential customer. Consider this file for the following types of businesses and organizations: Hearing aids centers, high-end specialty shops, landscape services, home improvement stores, specialized restaurants, family events, etc.


Consumer Database with behavioral interests selects This file is a segment of the same Consumer Database described above but includes interest selects that pinpoint hobbies and interests of a household.  Interest level data is captured from a variety of sources to include direct mail and online survey’s, warranty cards, and visitors to specific websites and events tailored to a one interest or another.


Consider this file for the following types of businesses: Sporting goods stores, gym memberships, day spa, piano stores, golf courses, tennis clubs, boating events, catalogs of one interest or another, etc.


Property Mortgage Database

This file includes those individuals who have a mortgage on their home.  The file contains selects that allow the mailer to pinpoint homes of a certain assessed value, year built, mortgage amount, mortgage loan time, mortgage interest rate type, etc.  The property mortgage database captures data collected from the county courthouse records department.


Consider this file ideal for the following type offers: Mortgage refinance, new window or roof installation, home remodeling services, investment and real estate related offers, refinance services, etc.


Business to Business Database

This file includes all the names and addresses of businesses in the U.S..  The types of selects available are sales revenue, employee size, SIC code (business description), HQ or branch location, and years in business.  Most business mailing list records include a phone number and contact name and are usually selectable by title. 


This file is excellent for reaching most any business to business offer imaginable. Consider this file for the following type offers: Offices supplies and Office furniture, employee health insurance, business software and computer hardware, advertisement and marketing services, uniforms, etc.


Licensed Professionals Database

This file includes all those licensed professionals who must register themselves with the State in which they practice.  Upon doing do, their mailing address is made publicly available.


Consider this file for the following type offers: Recruitment, continuing education, industry related expo/conference, industry related marriage mail, Managed file special interest This category of mailing lists include subscription lists to magazines and trade journals, memberships to clubs and organizations, responders and buyers of niche products and services, and website visitors who all have something special in common. 


The files are called “managed” because the rental of this mailing list is performed by a 3rd party for the mailing list owner.  The mailing list manager reports usage of the mailing list to the owner and is paid a royalty every time the list is rented to a mailer.  These files are generally very niche in their target audience and are usually much more expensive than the traditional “compiled” mailing list.  These files are considered very accurate in terms of identifying a specific potential responder and are therefore ideal for those offers that require such precision. 


Along with a higher price tag, these files usually come with restrictions of use and most all mail pieces must first be approved by the mailing list owner before the managed mailing list can be rented.


Consider these types of files for offers such as: Fundraisers, niche catalog offers, business services, catalogs, special interest pro