How to choose the right mailing list

It was with some relief that I opened the sixth, and final, direct mail piece from a certain Scandinavian book printing company today. You may be  wondering why I have received no less than half a dozen different mailing packs from a seemingly unrelated business over the last two months – I certainly am!

I can at least take an educated guess. Though I have never had the need for a book printer, I did  publish a magazine (until I sold the business some 6 months ago). My details have obviously been captured and ‘plonked’ into the generic category of ‘publishing’ and the data sold on to some poor unsuspecting marketer hoping for a list of relevant prospects!

Here are some of the questions you should ask before agreeing to rent or buy, what looks like, a relevant database?

  • Where has the data come from and how is it kept up to date? Has the data originated from a legitimate source, has it been verified and on what basis is it kept up to date?
  • Can you buy the relevant portion of the data and how can it be segmented? If you are looking to target businesses in a particular sector can they be easily identified?
  • What level of detail does the database contain? It is essential that you have a named contact and you may also want a ‘phone number and email address.
  • On what basis can you use the data? You can rent lists for one-off use or multiple use or you can buy the data outright. Be clear about what you need and what you are getting.
  • How will the data be sent to you? The format in which you will receive the data is particularly important if you are using an outsourced mailing house. Make sure it is compatible. 

There are lots of good databases out there – by asking the right questions you can make sure you choose the one that will work for you.

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