List Buying Guide: The Finer Points of List Research
List Test Recommendations
List test recommendations profile highly targeted lists along with a recommended select, the select universe, base rate, select pricing, demographics, update schedule, comments(the broker's chance to sell the list to the mailer) and usage. These recommendations usually include between five to 10 new test ideas. When I first started in list brokerage, brokers worked with printed data cards and you had to stand in line to use the fax machine, but I digress ... All I did was call for counts, updated data cards and usage. This process helped me to learn how to really research lists and pick lists based on roll-out potential, usage (if other like mailers were using the list) and update schedules. Note: If a list only updates on an annual basis, it is best to mail the list right after the update rather than in mid year.
List research can't be hurried. It takes time to be done properly. Skimping on steps will only catch up with you later on. Usually when you are presenting in front of your client and several other important members of the marketing department will the missing step become obvious to all.
When agreeing to take on the project, try to make sure everyone is on the same page as to how long it will take and when the project will be delivered. Managing expectations is a component of the list research process that is often overlooked and can be just as important as the project itself. List research is not a lost art. Like many works of art, it just take time.
Michele Volpe is vice president of sales and marketing at MediaSource Solutions, a list management, compilation and data services firm in Plantation, Fla. She can be reached at (954) 788-0213.