Posts Tagged ‘Mailing Lists’

A Strong Case for Direct Mail

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

By Jim DiProspero, Vice President
Specialists Marketing Services, Inc.

With limited budgets of both time and money, where can I get the most bang for my advertising buck? Business owners continue to ask this question with an increasing volume of choices powered by the proliferation of social media sites and digital advertising opportunities.

Any company seeking new business today has a wide variety of media choices, from print, radio/TV, web sites and social media. Continuing research has shown that one of the most cost effective forms of getting new business is through good, consistent, targeted direct mail. Targeted direct mail lists have several advantages that make them unique. If you know your best customers, then you can use targeted direct mail to reach more of them and generate qualified new business leads. This applies to traditional brick and mortar stores, professionals, or even start up web sites.

Direct mail has the advantage of being perceived as the least intrusive and therefore the most welcome type of advertising. Several studies over the years confirm that most people prefer direct mail to other types of advertising. A recent article, “The Future is Now” in the industry magazine Deliver makes a strong case in support of this. Furthermore, there is less competition in the mail box (due to increasing diversification of marketing budgets online), and this may often lift response.

Unlike an e-mail or SMS text message which can be deleted by the push of a button there seems to be something about a direct mail piece, be it a postcard or a letter that conveys legitimacy on the part of the mailer and encourages the recipient to keep it.

There are a few tried and true techniques that should be employed, or at least tested, on your direct mail campaign

  1. Have a clear call to action. Give your direct mail recipients a compelling reason to contact you.
  2. Make an offer they can’t refuse. Give them something such as a discount or a two for one offer — something to entice them to try your product or service.
  3. Include an expiration date on the offer.

Probably the most important advantage of direct mail is the ability to precisely target audiences better then other forms of advertising. This is due to the lists and data that power its distribution to the right audience. No other channel (online or offline) has the wealth of acquisition data to drive lifetime value (LTV). Although many online advertising sources are real-time, they are often lacking in regards to the big picture of a customer’s purchase (or giving in the case of non-profits) behavior over time.

You may have the most relevant message, and your printing and graphics may be the best money can buy, but the single most important element in the success or failure of your marketing efforts is your selection of the most targeted and appropriate mailing list.

Targeting of your most concise audience is paramount. It many cases it is not enough to target by demographics like age and income you need to target by affinity or interest.

In response to the splintering of the homogenous mass market of yesterday, list marketers have been working at identifying the moving targets and shifting trends of the market place. There are literally hundreds of different lists available to target just about any niche market or affinity group you can think of.

Specialists Marketing Services recently launched a new mailing lists search portal for its Direct Data Division that provides visitors with easy access to rate cards and information about specialty lists and data.

Here you can find an audience for just about any product or service. Keep in mind, you want to reach as many qualified prospects as you can without wasting your message on those who are not interested or can’t purchase your product — targeted direct mail does just that.

If offline marketing with direct mail is not part of your overall mix, then you may be sacrificing LTV at the expense of impressions and clicks. An integrated approach is best.

The most powerful free marketing tool ever offered on the Internet

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

NextMark’s new and improved Mailing List Finder tool has been getting some rave reviews. People are liking the media planning and strategic marketing insights it provides. Reviews don’t get much more positive than this one:

“This is the most powerful free marketing tool that I have ever seen offered on the Internet.”

Wow. Can’t beat that!

The List Finder is getting noticed by more people every day. National Public Radio has called it the Google of Mailing Lists and the Direct Marketing Association gave NextMark the Future Innovators Award for creating it (among other things).

Have you tried the Mailing List Finder? I’d love to hear your feedback. Better yet, post a review on your blog 😉

Online is just as messed up as offline marketing

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I’ve been doing some research into the online display advertising channel as a natural extension to NextMark‘s media planning tools. You might assume that everything is streamlined and super-automated in this world. But I am finding that it is messy and crude, perhaps even more so than the offline world (if you can believe that).

A video from Yahoo! previewing AMP! (since rebranded as APT) does a good job of explaining some of the messy problems with today’s solutions:

“Turns out that buying and selling ads online is byzantine with inefficient processes and cumbsome legacy systems. Nothing works well or together. [..] The current system is – to put it politely – slow. It may also be inaccurate. And you know going in that you will have to overbook to cover your promise. […] You have to cobble them all together. It took ten separate contracts and two weeks. […] A disconnected process full of time-consuming manual steps and multiple approval bottlenecks to catch the mistakes inherent with the process.”

Is it just me, or does this seem a lot like list rental? (more…)

10 Most Useful SalesForce Apps

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009, updated a list of the AppExchange’s 10 most useful apps of SalesForce. The list provides the application name, publisher, price, and a brief description for each application. The NextMark lead finder was ranked second right behind Salesforce for Google AdWords.

  1. Salesforce for Google AdWords
  2. A+ Lead Finder by NextMark
  3. DataSynch QuickBooks Edition
  4. Sales Activity Dashboard
  5. SalesGenius
  6. Jigsaw
  7. Sales KPI Dashboard 1.0
  8. Share Now
  9. MapQuest for AppExchange 1.0
  10. Lead and Opportunity Management Dashboards


Amity Direct adds list research widget to web site

Friday, November 13th, 2009

It didn't take long for the first multi-channel marketing services provider to add the Mailing Lists Search Tool widget to their web site. Amity Direct found the deployable search tool on the NextMark blog and installed it within the hour.

"Yet another great idea from NextMark that's quick and easy to use," says Jerry Mamola, Managing Partner at Amity Direct. "It only took a few minutes to add it to the site. My partner just copied and pasted some html code from the blog page onto our site and it was done – technology never used to be this easy to implement."

It's important to focus on your unique value proposition and keep your online visitors close with quality tools and resources. For Amity Direct, the focus is helping their clients with multi-channel integration and break-through creative.

"We work hard to find and retain more customers for our clients. AmityLogo The mailing lists search tool provides our clients and web site visitors with access to all of the market research and intelligence they desire and deserve," says Jerry Mamola. "Marketers can now review their prospect markets at their own pace using our site, and we can spend more time doing what we do best — marrying traditional direct marketing strategies with break-through creative, then making the most of it with new interactive tools, CRM integration, and the latest in mobile media."

Click here to add the tool to your web site or blog — it's very easy and only takes a minute.

Installing the Mailing Lists Search Tool

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

To add the mailing lists search tool to your web site and provide your visitors with access to over 60,000 mailing lists, just copy and paste the following code into the HTML document where you want the search tool to appear:


DMA09 Visit NextMark #1930

Monday, October 12th, 2009

NextMark will be presenting and exhibiting at DMA09.

NextMark provides information and technology that powers the market for mailing lists, and makes it easier for you to purchase mailing lists, sell mailing lists, and learn about mailing lists.


NextMark and marketing INFORMATION network (mIn) have been serving the list industry for 10 and 20 years respectively. Thousands of list brokers and list managers use NextMark every day to help their clients with effective and profitable new customer aquisition.

Visist our booth #1930.

Learn about the following products and services that make it easier for you to effectively reach your market.

Mailing Lists Search Tool (free):  search over 60,000 mailing lists from 700+ sources.

Professional list brokerage system:  a fully intergrated online contact management, mailing list research, competitive analysis, and order processing system.

Contextually targeted advertising:  place relevant list titles at the very top of the search results (over 60,000 lists) every time a broker or mailer runs a search.

Search engine optimized data card web site:  integrate NextMark data cards with the list manager's web site, and gets them noticed by search engines for better placement on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Stop cold calling for list sales:  bid on leads by market category, capture more inquiries from your managed list titles, and calculate the ROI from start to finish.

Connecting data cards with data:  connect data cards with the source data at the service bureau for automated updates in real-time. Create high definition list profiles and enable EASY counts directly from the data card.

Stop by and you'll be glad you did!

Important Fact:  Experts agree at least 40% of direct marketing success depends on mailing lists.


If I Only Had a List to Start My Catalog Business!

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

by guest author, Jim Gilbert

Jim-gilbert Last week, I had a former student ask me what list he should buy to grow his new business.  I’ll tell you why that question is the wrong one.

First of all, if you’re new to the catalog/multichannel business model, you don’t buy lists; you rent them. Rentals are for one-time use only. In fact, the list industry works very hard to police each list it rents out by seeding names to find out if list renters are using it correctly. 

So, if you mail the same list more than once, it’s likely you’ll get caught, and your catalog could wind up blackballed in the industry (which is very small). Your list broker could get in trouble, too!

Next, there’s no such thing as one list that can grow a catalog business. Heck, if there was, I would be out of a career, and everybody would be in the catalog business! But I digress.

If you’re looking to test list rentals as a way of acquiring new customers, here are a few tips for you.

1. It’s likely that any one particular list you mail won’t make a profit on the first mailing. Make sure you understand the concept of lifetime value, which is the net stream of revenue customers will generate over their lifetime. If you lose money on acquiring customers, you’d better make it up with subsequent orders. 

2. A lifetime value analysis looks like a P&L for each customer. Essentially, all income and expenses over the years are calculated and ROI can be seen over time.

3. Merely mailing a test catalog one time can be a wonderful way to help your printers’ kid get new braces and give the U.S. Postal Service enough money to fund its next rate case. 

4. If you’re going to invest in catalog marketing, develop a fully cooked plan that includes a mail plan by year, by drop and by list — with cash flow estimates, P&Ls and the aforementioned LTV estimates. A plan by drop and by list includes many lists, including your housefile and rented lists. 

5. Expect to invest in acquiring new customers for a number of years. Assume that you need to fund your catalog for three years minimum until you have reached critical mass. I define critical mass as enough customers to generate enough sales per catalog to cover your prospecting efforts. Said another way, that’s your break-even point. 

Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. You can reach him at or 561-302-1719.

The best kept secret in marketing?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

I know of this website that gives you access to every mailing list on the market from every vendor – all in one place. Some pay $50+ to get its location, but I give it to you here for free…

The best kept secret in marketing

NextMark's mailing lists search tool (on the web at is a free marketing tool that has been described as "the best kept secret in marketing."

Why is this website a secret? In truth, it's not.

In fact, google "buy mailing lists" and you'll find it right there at the top of the most relevant results. But most marketers don't realize that an index of mailing lists exists and don't even bother trying to find it.

I've learned of enterprising individuals exploiting this knowledge gap and charging $50 or more to reveal this "secret tool" to you. I've looked into this scheme and there's nothing technically illegal about it, but it seems wrong to have to pay money to get a web address.

Please spread the word that the mailing lists search tool is free and available to any marketer who is looking for mailing lists.

3 Tips for Improving Mailing List ROI

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

In light of the current economy and the need to mail smarter, here are three things every direct marketer can do to maximize the value from their list rentals and their time.

1) Leverage empirical knowledge and effective negotiation skills.

This sounds much better than saying "hire a good list broker", but that is the recommendation. Experienced brokers know which lists work and which ones don't. Many have relationships with original list compilers so they can buy directly from the source and extend discounts based on economies of scale. Savvy brokers also understand analytics, so they can back up their recommendations with quantitative information and explain the meaning behind the metrics.

2) Leverage analytics to work for you.

Technology has powered the science of analysis with meaningful statistics on virtually every list on the market today. For example, the test-to-continuation ratio provides an aggregate measure of mailer success renting the same list. If a high percentage of mailers are placing continuation orders, then something about the list is working for them.

Another good reference point is the list popularity index (LPI). The LPI is based on how recently and frequently a list is included in list brokers' recommendations to their clients. This is a great tool for comparing mailing lists that have been on the market for a while, but should not be used exclusively to rule out titles that are new to market or have recently changed managers.

Ask to review a list profile. Comprehensive list profiles are available because a data bridge now connects data cards with the underlying data at the owner service bureau. You get a visualization of frequency distributions for all selectable dimensions including demographics, psychographics, interests, and purchase behavior.

3) Optimize list selection value.

Many selections have significant overlap, and choosing them together will only result in higher costs. A good list broker can optimize your selection criteria based on the resulting data set. They serve your best interests and do not typically receive commissions on selection revenue.

Getting the most 'bang for your buck' on lists can be myopic if you rule out options that can significantly help to grow your business. Choosing only those lists with the highest return on investment (ROI) and response rates can narrow your market reach, so consider your primary objectives before defining your acceptance criteria.

There's plenty of empty space in the mail box, and the best time to avoid the clutter is now!