List Tactics - 7 Often Ignored Fundamentals
by David O. Schwartz and Janine Vosseler
If you were asked, "What is the single most important component in a direct mail campaign," how would you answer?
Do you think it is the creative concept (i.e., what the piece looks like) or would you place the offer as the most critical component? If you guessed either, you are wrong and you are not alone.
Many otherwise savvy marketers fail to recognize that it is the mailing list which most influences the success of a direct mail campaign. Unfortunately, this lack of awareness often causes them to select and use mailing lists in ways which seriously undermine even the best creativity and most luring offer.
How do you achieve the best benefit from mailing lists? By understanding how to access and utilize lists in a strategic and tactical way to maximize their potential.
Tactic #1: Gain a historical perspective. Experienced list brokers can gauge the "synergy factor" for a particular mailing list and your direct mail campaign. They can research the historical performance of a given list—which mailers used it before and the response levels they received.
For example, a list which has repeatedly performed well for manufacturers of computer supplies will generally continue to be a good list for marketers of similar products. Or, you can look at a list of mail-order computer buyers and reliably judge them to be highly comfortable with buying by mail and having plentiful discretionary income. This combination of attributes may single them out as good prospects for other high-tech offers or for products and services that enhance their lifestyle, say financial products or travel packages.
This out-of-the-box thinking can ferret out lists that don't share the obvious characteristics of your housefile but upon closer examination do match the type of audience you desire.
Tactic #2: Compress your mailing schedules. It's quite easy to misjudge how frequently you can market to the same names. Many marketers live under an arbitrary schedule that dictates mailings should not be distributed to the same individuals within, say, a six-month period.