Evaluating List Recommendations
Edited by Hallie Mummert
In 1994, Brian Kurtz of publishing company Boardroom Inc. shared with former Target Marketing editor Mindy Drucker a worksheet he developed to help the company's product managers and list brokers evaluate lists to test. Ten years later, the worksheet remains an invaluable tool in measuring the potential of a list.
The secret of the worksheet's success is that it forces those involved with list selection to inspect every nook and cranny of a recommended list—a process that tends to weed out files that look good on the surface, but are likely to bomb in the test process. At the very least, it helps marketers prioritize where to spend their list test dollars for the best possible return.
The following is an abbreviated version of Drucker's outline of the worksheet's 14 sections.
1. List Manager and Owner: Who are the list's manager and owner? If you aren't familiar with a list at all, knowing it is managed by a reputable manager might be a factor in its favor. Knowing the owner also can tell you the promotional techniques used to generate the names in the file.
2. Selects: Ask list brokers to recommend, in priority order, which two selects should be tested and their total estimated annual universes. You want specifics and a ranking to help guide you to the part of the list that will work best for your offer. Knowing the total estimated annual universe tells you the rollout potential of a list.
3. Pricing: You want to find out if tier pricing is available and whether select charges apply. For lists that are outside your core category, it's often necessary to negotiate a tier price with the select charges waived to keep the rate at the base fee.
4. Source: A simple listing of media used to collect names is not enough detail on which to base a test decision. You want a breakdown of media used, and specifics on what kinds of names were generated. Were they generated through agents, statement stuffers, stampsheets, etc.?