As Katz explains, problems often arise when exchanges are made directly between list owners and their list managers, without including a broker in the process. Your broker generally should be more familiar with your exchange partners’ list or mailing patterns. An exchange may go sour if the mailer with whom you exchange names doesn’t mail as often, has changed its offer, or the names on the file aren’t as fresh. If the list no longer works, you could be left with a large list balance of names that aren’t usable.
Another caveat: Even though the quantity of names exchanged often is even, your list might rent at a higher CPM than the other, resulting in lost list revenue potential.
A broker can track balances for you, keep you updated on your swap partners’ list activity and handle the administrative tasks involved with an exchange to make sure it is a win-win deal for both list owners.
Select with care. International select charges can significantly increase mailing costs. Nearly every list has a $10/M or $15/M country select charge. Additional selects, such as address type or job titles, can add another $25/M to $30/M to your list order, Katz points out. “These selects can be important if you have a large list and you want to test specific segments,” she notes, but adds that they are not always practical if the list is small to begin with—as often is the case. Remember, international list universes generally are much smaller than domestic lists and often can’t support selections that are standard on your U.S. lists.
“Mailers often order international lists the way they do domestic lists, and sometimes fine-tune the list to the point where they become impractical to use,” Katz points out. “Processing small lists can become very expensive, when you take into account minimum processing charges by your merge/ purge house, which often can add another $75/M to $100/M to the cost of a small list.”