Merit Direct has been growing its cooperative venture, MeritBase, by adding lists that its customers want. MeritBase has reached 300 million gross names, which net down to 80 million unique contacts. It includes 1,600 different lists. The names in the base are enhanced on a company or site level by the D&B business file and Experian’s National Business Database file. The output cost of the names varies with the rates of the individual lists participating in addition to a processing fee of $11/M for any names selected. Approximately 90 percent of MeritBase customers use the file for all of the prospect names they mail, the company reports.
Direct Media’s DataWarehouse currently includes 1,500 different lists contributing 112 million unique names. It brings together response files, compiled files and controlled circulation files in addition to three different sources of enhancement data. Given the coverage the DataWarehouse has of most U.S. employees at the majority of the country’s businesses, it does not have a strong slant toward one industry or size of company. The cost of using the DataWarehouse is the list-specific cost per thousand names and a $12/M processing fee.
These two list-specific cooperative files offer a distinct advantage to renting individual lists, developing private prospecting databases and working with membership co-op databases. If you want to use a list not already in the list-specific database, the database manager will invite the list owner to participate. You then shift from the typical payment for gross names selected to payment only for the net names you mail.
Some firms create and maintain private prospecting databases, though in practice the operation of these sources is the same as that of the DataWarehouse or MeritBase. However, if you take the private database route, you shoulder all of the costs of processing, enhancing and modeling the names. You also will have to keep the volume of names mailed from the private database above relatively high minimum levels to make it worthwhile for the hosting service bureau to dedicate resources and staff to the project. Before the co-op databases were launched, private systems were the only way for B-to-B mailers to merge all of the lists they wanted to use. Now there appears to be little advantage for such a venture and a large disadvantage in the likelihood of a high average cost per name compared to working with the co-ops.