Strategies Behind Finding the Right Marketing List Broker

If you sell products or services to consumers, you'll be pleased to know there are tens of thousands of marketing lists available to rent. Working with a list broker, you can rent lists that focus on very specific audiences for virtually anything you may be selling.

Why use a list broker?

Marketing list broker

Brokers are intimately familiar with available lists, rental pricing, and the limitations and effectiveness of various lists. Many brokers specialize in specific markets, offering years of in-depth industry knowledge. While an in-house person can certainly contact a list management company to rent a list, the broker works on 100 percent commission and is paid by the list manager, costing you nothing out of pocket while still providing expert guidance.

For any target audience, you will find many lists that appear to meet your goals. For example, several dozen lists exist in each of the following categories—in a few cases you may even have a choice of over 100 lists. It makes sense to get help narrowing the field and finding the specific list that best matches your campaign objectives.

  • Home mortgage data
  • Credit score data
  • Makes of automobiles owned or leased
  • People who have just moved
  • People who are planning to move ("pre-movers")
  • People with various medical conditions (Yes, in spite of HIPAA, this kind of information is available)

Many of these lists focus not only on demographics and psychographics (lifestyles) but also on "significant life events," such as the birth of a child, moving to a new location, filing for bankruptcy or buying a new home. Households experiencing such changes often make purchases in connection with their new status.

Take a moment to consider whether your products and services might be targeted toward consumers who undergo these "trigger" events.

Once you determine the target you want to reach, you'll need to decide which direct marketing method will be most effective. Lists for telemarketing, email and direct mail marketing each have their pros and cons.

Telemarketing Lists

The Do Not Call regulations that took effect in 2004 prohibit sales calls to consumer phone numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry. At present, over 200 million phones are so listed. However, if you are determined to reach those consumers who continue to accept calls, your list broker or list management company can provide a list and recommend a third-party consumer telemarketing firm to do your calling.

Your costs will include the rental of the list and the fees charged by the telemarketing company. Note that most telemarketing firms require a minimum number of calls (or hours of dialing). The fee for those minimums can easily reach several thousand dollars. For this reason, telemarketing lists and calls have largely fallen out of favor for consumer marketing.

E-mail Marketing Lists

E-mail marketing is one of the most productive forms of direct marketing, according to the Direct Marketing Association's E-mail Experience Council. In fact, more e-mail is opened on smartphones and tablets than on other devices, giving you almost continuous access to a target audience that carries mobile devices with them.

However, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 prohibits e-mail marketing to everyone except those who specifically agree to receive commercial solicitations. Nevertheless, there are thousands of legitimate, highly targeted e-mail lists you can rent. These typically contain time/date stamps showing when each person on the list opted in on a given topic.

Once again, you may choose to deal directly with a list manager or use a list broker to find the best list for your specific product or service.

Direct Mail Lists

Direct mail continues to be an effective form of marketing, as shown by year-after-year volume of direct mail advertising. It has remained fairly steady since 2002 at about 87 billion pieces per year.

In contrast, total mail delivery has dropped by some 34 billion pieces in the same period. Direct mail can be used to attract customers, to inform them of new products and services, to build loyalty, to open new territories, and to get responses through 1-800 phone calls, mail-in cards, and other methods.

Even with the cost of designing and printing your mailer and adding postage, direct mail can compete favorably on cost and ROI with other direct marketing techniques. A qualified broker can help you select lists from among the tens of thousands available.

Marketing lists play an important part in the sales funnel, gaining hundreds of new potential prospects with each list. Be sure to find and rent the right lists for you.

Allan Ramsay has been a writer, editor, entrepreneur and business man since the 1970's and currently serves as CEO for the Safe Teen Driving Club.