10 Tips on Using Third Party Data More Wisely
Third party data is a crucial component for direct marketers to build their databases, offering a direct opportunity to reach out to new contacts. But data can be expensive, and maximizing ROI challenging. Here are 10 tips to help direct marketers use third party data more wisely:
1. Have a clear goal for your campaign—response
Only half of the campaign is the list—the other half is the message. If you want the best response from third party data, don't try to sell anything. This may seem counterintuitive, but think of a sales pitch as a marriage proposal on a first date. To get the most for your list spend, focus on response alone as your primary goal.
2. Offer something of value in exchange for data
Lift response by offering something of value—like an analyst report or a great gadget. Balance the amount of information you ask from respondents with the value of what you're giving them.
3. Choose your list carefully
The other key to increasing response is the data itself. Not all lists are equal—quality can vary widely due to a list's source, age and collection method. Ensure high performance by asking your vendor to show you a history of response rates and proven performance for lists you rent or purchase.
4. Segment wisely
Pay for only those contacts you actually want to reach by using segmentation to refine your list pull. If segmentation doesn't appear to be an option from your vendor, ask anyway! If you know your target accounts by name, you can also segment by specific domains. Work with a vendor who can recommend third party lists by segmentation capability.
5. Suppress wisely
Suppression is way to further refine third party data. Specifically, add competitive domains to your suppression list. You may also want to consider suppressing personal email extensions like hotmail.com, yahoo.com or gmail.com, depending on your industry and target audience.
6. Know who you know
Decide whether or not you want to suppress your customers. Instead of suppressing individual contact records from your house list, you can suppress entire customer domains if your message isn't appropriate for existing clients. This avoids making your customers feel like you don't know them—a sure way to build negative brand association.
7. Know who you don't know
An alternative to suppressing customers is running a customer-only campaign. Ask your data provider to segment by account domain, and create messaging geared towards new customer contacts.
8. Expand your reach outside your primary buyer
At both customers and prospects, third party data can expand your footprint with executives, influencers and end users. A wider footprint of contacts at an account can mean new opportunities and even retaining business if organizational changes happen. Targeting influencers builds positive brand associations. Even directed at existing customers, tailored messaging to executive contacts can help establish your value to an organization and keep you off the cutting room floor come budget time. Marketing to end users can encourage product adoption and help drive purchase decisions.
9. Go multitouch
When you've identified the right list and the right contacts, don't be afraid to mail the same names more than once. Multiple touches can actually be a great way to increase results, as you're building brand association in a short timeframe. It can also be a way to avoid minimum order requirements for highly segmented list pulls.
10. Go multichannel
In addition to multiple touches, don't be afraid of multiple methods. A postal mailer sent in advance, for example, can make a contact more apt to respond to a follow-up email or telemarketing effort.
Mike McSharry is a project manager at Hingham, Mass.-based Oceanos, a company specializing in demand strategies, customer account research and data processing and hygiene. He can be contacted at email@example.com.