Nuts&Bolts: Global Update
Unique names. Fresh lists. Prospect lists are a basic need in direct marketing. We need them to maintain our customer base and to fuel expansion, whether into new markets or more deeply into a current market.
Because of our niche markets, WorldVu, a publisher of business reference material in international addressing and country information, always has built in-house lists to supplement its list-rental efforts. Approximately 25 percent of our customers reside outside the United States, so we mail to both domestic and international lists. However, we’re having a difficult time finding rental lists that meet our profile for a variety of reasons: some lists are no longer available to rent; newer lists often are not marketed; certain publications have curtailed their international subscription marketing; and many marketers have moved toward co-op databases. The end result is that the international list universe seems to be diminishing. It’s an issue I regularly hear about from other marketers, too.
To continue growing our customer base, we need to mail to more names than often are available through list rental. Building our own lists in-house has worked to do just that. In fact, some of the international lists we’ve built in-house have generated double-digit response rates of up to 28 percent.
Our list-building efforts begin with our customer profiles—both domestic and international. These profiles define the research criteria for potential lists. Preliminary research can be done on the Web by researching potential groups that match the profiles; for us, that might be circulation directors of magazines with international audiences. We also look for potential names in international markets that match our domestic profile and vice versa.
In Worldvu’s experience, lists of the best, largest or top companies in a particular field or industry are useful for B-to-B searches. Depending on your needs, chambers of commerce, professional associations or a listing of companies in particular industries or countries may be useful. For consumer lists, you might look for clubs, school- or college-affiliated groups or community associations. Internationally, women’s clubs can pull very well for some offers.