Buying Lists What Every Direct Marketer Needs to Know
Common Sense Research
Most brokers have access to electronic list search systems and can do a quick search based on key phrases. Before you ask your broker to search out lists and print numerous data cards, use some common sense. If you only need 25,000 names of engineers, you probably don't need to review the 50 or 60 data cards an electronic search is likely to turn up. However, if you need 200,000 names of engineers nationwide, be prepared to look over those 50 or 60 data cards. Work with your broker to prioritize lists based on how closely they match up with the audience you need to reach, and the selections and quantities available.
Be Aware of Relationships
Sometimes brokers are resellers or wholesalers of lists, particularly compiled files. These arrangements are not always obvious, but can work to your advantage. Your broker may be able to offer you a better price on these lists and quicker counts and turnaround. However, if your broker is always pushing compiled lists, and never recommends any other types of lists, it may be necessary to research other options on your own or work with more than one broker to get in depth recommendations and additional expertise.
Marketing to Members
Associations, newsletter publishers, and other trade or charitable organizations may not openly market their files. However, you can sometimes contact organizations directly and arrange for list rental. Typically list owners who do not actively promote their lists do not offer broker commissions. If you ask your broker or agency for extensive research to track down these files, be prepared to pay for the research and service time involved.
Sometimes a particular list compiler will not or cannot reveal the source of a compiled file. This does not necessarily mean you should not rent the list. Oftentimes, if you have done your market research you can make an educated guess as to where these names came from. And even if you can't, don't abandon the list just because you don't know the original source of the names. Sometimes this compiled file may be the only list available for a particular mailing and offers a great opportunity for a test.