Choosing an Email List Manager & Broker

Evaluating email vendors and finding the right partners require careful due diligence. When seeking an email list manager or broker, keep compliance top of mind. Ensure that your email list partner is an active voice in the direct and interactive community, legislative and otherwise.

Choosing an email list manager.

So, you have an email list and want to monetize the asset? How do you choose the right list manager to promote and maximize your valuable asset yet protect the data that you worked hard to capture? Here are four main considerations:

  • Reputation. Review the client listing of the leading list management companies. A best-of-class client roster reflects a best-of-class organization. Look particularly for traditional bricks-and-mortar list properties that already completed due diligence and migrated to the email list market. Also, partner with a company that has experience launching and bringing files to the market.
  • Experience. Your list manager should be seasoned in the email space and in your market sector. Five years’ email experience is a minimum. Examine the list roster for list properties that are complementary to your list for optimal cross-sell opportunities. Look for a proactive sales organization to manage your list.Email campaign management is a challenging, very interactive process. Your manager needs experienced professionals at the campaign and production level as well as the sales level. They need to know the intricacies of email creative, multipart messaging and campaign reporting. Your manager also should have experience in direct and agency sales and not just rely on traditional channels. The email market is in continuous development, so your manager needs to be aggressive in adapting.
  • Integrity. Choose a manager who is as concerned about protecting your list asset as about monetizing it. A reputation for integrity and ethical practices is always the coin of the realm. It’s important to remain part of the community of email marketers in order to be able execute best practices.
  • Compliance. Your manager must be fluent in CAN-SPAM compliance and be sure that your list meets all requirements before your data card hits the market. Ensure the manager can implement templates for third-party messages and screens mailers for formatting and compliance with current laws. It is not enough just to be compliant. Look for a manager who works to be ahead of the curve in best practices. In a business that often fluctuates, your manager should be a solid resource for compliance issues and how they affect email list rental.

Choosing an email list broker.

Now that your customer email campaigns are working, you’re ready to test third-party email lists. Your next step is selecting the right email list broker. You’ll seek the same qualities found in your email list manager as well as others that are unique to the brokerage circulation planning process.

  • Reputation is key. Who are the leaders in the field with at least five years’ experience? What other email marketers have entrusted their interactive budgets to them? Again, experience with bricks-and-mortar marketers indicates a respected email partner.
  • Multichannel expertise. Your email list broker should be an experienced multi-channel list broker because the most productive marketing programs increasingly combine email, direct mail and telemarketing. Any prospective email broker should show the ability to strategize and execute in the multichannel environment.
  • Negotiating skills. Your broker must be an able negotiator working on your behalf to keep this expensive medium within the cost parameters of each campaign. The best know how to get you workable pricing with continuations in mind.
  • Compliance sensitivity. Recognizing a quality email list from a spam list takes experience and research. Only an email list broker who knows the space inside and out by arranging rentals every day can give you the assurance to avoid marginal lists and outright compliance violations.

Rob Sanchez is the President of List Management and Interactive Services for MeritDirect.

Dee Blohm joined MeritDirect with a long history in the direct marketing community. She was with Direct Media for nine years in business brokerage working with a heavy client base such as SkillPath Seminars, Prudent Publishing, Aspen Publishing and McGraw Hill’s Construction Information Group. Dee migrated from the postal to the online community in 1999 at the height of the interactive boom. She joined Impower as an Account Director and helped to move a number of traditional offline marketers to the online medium via email prospecting, web development, keyword searches and banner placement. Dee worked directly with Quill Corporation, Rodale Press, Pitney Bowes, and the Blue Dolphin Group.

Dee joined Merit in August of 2001 and is Vice President of MeritDirect Interactive Services Division. She continues to provide creative online and offline solutions to clients like Microsoft, Reed Exhibitions, NPD Group, and Tessco among others.

She can be reached at: 914-368-1066;

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