Posts Tagged ‘Mailing Lists’

Are mailing lists for the birds?

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Just this morning, a little bird told me to 'tweet-a-list'. OK, it actually wasn't a bird – it was Alex Slover, NextMark's intern from Cornell University. Alex was able to do some interesting work this week, configuring category searches for our public search tool and creating a new RSS feed that delivers information about new lists to market in real-time!

It only made sense to channel this information to those who follow NextMark on Twitter.

The fact is that mailing lists are at the heart of every direct marketing campaign, and experts agree that the lists you choose account for at least 40 percent of direct marketingTwitterbird success. That explains why mailiers and their list brokers are always in need of fresh names to rent. Every day, new lists come to market, insert media programs are launched, list owners change list managers, existing sources are enhanced, and postal lists are appended with email addresses. It's not easy to keep up with all of these changes, but knowing what's new to the market is an important part of identifying quality names for your direct marketing campaigns.

Now you can see what's happening live from more than 1,200 list management companies using NextMark to publish their lists. Here's an example from this afternoon.

Look – a new list was published 1 minute ago!

Up to 5 new lists will be tweeted every half hour, and all you need to do to be the first to know about new lists to market is follow NextMark. You may also subscribe to the NextMark RSS feed or link to new mailing lists to get the information in real-time; 30 minutes may be a long time to wait for next generation marketers on Twitter.

NextMark featured in new book: Contemporary Direct & Interactive Marketing

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Direct marketing is going through a transformation. Some suggest re-branding direct marketing techniques as "interactive marketing" because of the highly personal two-way relationship it enables.

Contemporary Direct & Interactive Marketing bookDr. Lisa Spiller and Martin Baier have just published a second edition of their book entitled Contemporary Direct & Interactive Marketing that investigates this transformation. It illustrates the latest and greatest methods employed by leading practitioners.

While every marketer agrees that your choice of mailing lists is fundamental to the success of your marketing program, few marketing books cover this topic in any depth. I was pleased to see that Spiller and Baier bucked this trend and gave the topic coverage it sorely needs in Chapter 3 – "Developing Lists and Discovering Markets"

I was also honored they showcased NextMark and our Mailing List Search Tool in their opening vignette, which includes the following passage:

"The challenge for most marketers is to locate appropriate lists that will enable them to communicate with prospects that are likely to have a need for their products or services. Fortunately, this task has become much easier due to the advances in technology, the availability of lists, and companies like NextMark.

[… step by step instructions on using the list finder …]

"NextMark is building the technology to help eliminate the administrative headaches associated with developing lists and discovering markets. So if you want to effectively prospect for new customers, visit NextMark at and explore its list finder — you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy prospecting can be with highly targeted lists."

Here is what else you will find in that chapter on mailing lists.

  • Lists as Market Segments
    • A Perishable Commodity
    • Types of Lists
    • Development of House Lists
  • The List Industry
    • List Users
    • List Owners
    • List Brokers
    • List Managers
    • List Compilers
    • Service Bureaus
  • Evaluation of Lists
    • Measurement of Results
    • Response Differences Attributable to Timing
  • The Nature of Market Segmentation
    • Product Differentiation
    • Product Positioning
    • Segmenting Business Markets
  • The Bases for Market Segmentation
    • Geographic Segmentation
    • Demographic Segmentation
    • Social factor Segmentation
    • Psychographic Segmentation
    • Behavioral Market Segmentation
    • Using multiple Segmentation Bases
  • ZIP Code Areas as Market Segments
    • Geographic Structure
    • ZIP+4
    • Clustering Areas to Segments
    • Availability of Statistical Data

Purchase the book through our Amazon store here.

Marketing Blog Directory

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Other marketing blogs:

blogarama - the blog directory

Marketing Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Blog Directory & Search engine

Blog Directory by Blog Flux



Blog Directory


Negev Direct Marketing


Grokodile Blogs in Hanover

World Travel Links – Worldwide travel and hotel related links listed on The Wise Directory.

Blogs Directory

Mailing list quality vs. data card quality — what’s the difference?

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

It's simple. A data card is the marketing document that describes a mailing list.

A quality data card does not guarantee a quality mailing list, but you can have a top quality list that is neglected from a marketing perspective (i.e. a poor quality data card). First impressions count, and the data card is most often the first impression that a broker or mailer receives when researching new test lists for a direct marketing campaign.

To be blunt – you wouldn't serve a T-bone on a trash can lid, would you?

I'm not sure everyone thinks this way when it comes to data cards. The t-bone steak represents a quality mailing list with an exceptional test-to-continuation ratio. The trash can lid represents a neglected data card for that same mailing list. Think about this analogy from the perspective of a list broker or mailer.

You select a mailing list of active subscribers that matches your customer profile. The mailing list is marketed by a credible list manager with industry knowledge, a proven track record for customer service, and a diverse portfolio of quality response list titles. Futhermore, the mailing list you selected is known for its success in delivering above average response rates and lifetime value. You are ready to add this list title to your client's new test recommendation.

Not so fast! You notice that the data card has not been updated in over 6 months. Furthermore, you are ordering a monthly hotline so you have no idea what range the counts will be in.

Needless to say, you're likely to question the validity of the information. You may wonder if the mailing list is still available for rental, or you may find out that the owner of the data card is no longer the list manager because they lost the business to a competitor and never deactivated their version of the data card. That's obviously not something the former list manager would want to promote in the public domain, but it happens.

What's the take-away in all of this? It's simple. Keep your data cards up-to-date with quality information on all of the list research channels, especially in the public domain where your content is most visible.

A ranking of list managers by data card quality is published quarterly.


Are you wasting 79.4% or your postage and printing?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009


Ellen Paul at Paul & Partners does a good job of explaining problems and solutions for mailing list hygiene in her "Dear upset client…" article.

I don't know if her story is a true one. If it is, it's a sad story of a house file with 79.4% bad data. But I am guessing this is a fictional compilation of true stories from various clients over the years. It's a good summary of how a mailing list can be neglected and how to fix it.

Think about the postage and printing savings and ROI improvements by keeping your mailing list clean.

Read the story.

How Banks, Marketers Aid Scams… and how they prevent it

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Today's Wall Street Journal includes a story "How Banks, Marketers Aid Scams" that tells how common business practices may help scammers. Although the story mentions some of the controls in the mailing list business, it fails to mention most of them.

The common public perception of mailing lists is that personal information is being freely traded without any controls. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you'd be suprised how many controls are in place to prevent inappropriate use of mailing lists. Here are a few:

  1. Mailing lists have well-established opt-out or opt-in policies to give individuals control of their inclusion on a list
  2. Lists are typically "rented" or "exchanged" for 1-time use (versus purchased for unlimited use) – this prevents overuse
  3. List rentals require list owner approval as part of a formal clearance process – this prevents mis-use
  4. Getting approval requires samples of your mail piece or telemarketing script – this prevents inappropriate use of the list
  5. Professional List Brokers and List Managers typically act as intermediaries on transactions and will stop fraud in its tracks to protect their clients and their livelihood. Many maintain black lists of unethical mailers to aid in this process.
  6. List rentals require a formal list rental agreement (LRA) that restricts use of the mailing list to the purpose set forth. This contract prevents misunderstandings and adds formal accountability to the process.
  7. List rentals are "anonymous" – the buyer never takes possession of the list. Instead, a trusted 3rd party service bureau handles the data - this prevents stealing of mailing lists
  8. Lists are seeded to ensure that the use of the mailing list complies with the agreement. Mailboxes are set up to receive the mailings/emails/calls and these are tracked – this prevents mis-use.
  9. Members of the Direct Marketing Association abide by a Privacy Promise and Code of Ethics.

NextMark's technology enables these controls and more that give consumers better protection. At the same time, NextMark enables organizations to reach their market directly with highly relevant communications (by weeding out people who consider their communication "junk mail" or "spam").

Of course, list owners aren't required to use NextMark, join the Direct Marketing Association, or go through the list broker/list manager channel to sell their list. But the ethical list owners, such as The Wall Street Journal itself, and their list managers will follow this protocol to prevent mis-use of their data and to protect consumers.

More attention needs to be paid to unscrupulous list owners and marketers who don't follow the rules.

NextMark unveils “life changing” technology at DM Days NY 2009

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Nextmark Select revealed at DM Days NY 2009

NextMark this week unveiled the much anticipated NextMark Select service at the DMA's DM Days 2009 conference in New York City. Nora Brophy from Cross Country Computer and NextMark's Chris DeMartine (shown above) co-presented to clients including Belardi/Ostroy, Aggressive List Management, IOMA, Estee Marketing Group, and RMI Direct Marketing. Those attending the demonstration were quite enthusiastic, with one list manager describing the new service as "life changing."

NextMark Select bridges the gap between data cards and data. This two-way connection automates the tedious administration of data cards and paves the way for new analytical applications, such as advanced mailing list profiling, online custom counts, and online ordering.

The "wow" always came at the point of the demonstration when showing how it enhances data cards. Here's a snapshot of a mailing list profile:

NextMark Select enhanced data card

For more information, visit the NextMark Select page on NextMark's website.

Saving Direct Mail — One Video at a Time

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

It's a fact. The mailing lists you choose will determine the success of your marketing campaign. There are more than 60,000 active postal lists, email lists, and insert media programs on the market today. NextMark is helping you find them, one video at a time.

NextMark technology makes it easier to find better lists, and get marketing services providers connected online.

The Quest for Better Mailing List Information

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Direct Magazine just published an article by Lee Kroll of Kroll Direct Marketing called "The Quest for Better Data Cards."

Mr. Kroll first speaks of the importance of data cards:

Let's all agree that the datacard is still the most effective sales tool that list owners and managers utilize to promote their mailing lists and direct marketing services to list brokers and mailers.

Mr. Kroll suggests that data cards deserve the attention of senior management and should not be relegated to a junior person in the back room:

The datacard writing and update process should be a "top-down" task, not a "bottom-up" task. It takes "real" industry leaders to demand higher quality datacards to be created and maintained.

He cites problems that result from inaccurate and incomplete data cards:

Surprisingly, there are some list management companies that intentionally leave critical information off their datacards, and believe that if a broker needs additional information that they will call the list manage, so the manager will have an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell the broker. The reality is that today, the broker doesn't have time to play that game and needs vital information at their fingertips without having to make multiple requests for basic information that should already be provided.

It is also very frustrating when a broker reviews a datacard only to find that there are a significant number of excellent selections, offered but no quantities listed. The broker has no idea of whether or not that particular mailing list will ultimately provide enough records for the client's specific parameters or meet the minimum order quantity.

Let me tell you… maintaining an electronic data card database is not easy.

But with 20 years of experience, mIn and NextMark have invented technology and efficient procedures that enable us to produce the most complete and up-to-date database available today. You see the proof in our mailing list search toollist research system, and audited data card database that contains more than 60,000 active listings (and more than 90,000 data cards overall).

As Mr. Kroll observed, data cards and good mailing list information is absolutely critical to making good decisions about circulation plans and to the results of your direct mail program. Experts agree that 40% or more of your success depends on your choice of mailing lists! That's why we've worked so hard to build and maintain this database.

Despite years of continuous innovation, we are still finding new ways to improve. For example, our next software release will connect data cards to data. This technological leap has far-reaching business implications. Not the least of which is making it easier to maintain the counts on a data cards and enriching the data card with in-depth profile information (actual screen shot):


This new profile will be available early June along with NextMark Select in NextMark version 7.0. We'll be showing off the new technology at the FastForward and DM Days Conferences (let us know if you want a personal demonstration).

And we certainly won't stop there… our quest to enable you to "Reach Your Market" by delivering you "Customers On-Demand" will keep us busy with new innovations for many years to come.

DMAW List Bazaar sets the standards

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Dmaw-logo Last week, I attended the DMAW’s List Bazaar conference at Maggiano’s in Washington, DC. This conference set the standards in more than one way.

Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project John Melia started the day talking about the Wounded Warriors Project he started to provide wounded soldiers with a backpack full of essentials immediately upon arrival on US soil. WWP’s mission does not end there – the program now provides many other services to help these soldiers successfully transition back to civilian life including family services, transition training, job placement, sporting activities, and much more.

How does this relate to mailing lists? Mr. Melia admits, “Five years ago I did not know what a mailing list was.” Partnering with a list broker has enabled him to grow from a modest home-based backpack project to a $42 million budget, 100 employees, and a full range of services for these soldiers in transition.

List Rental and Exchange Standards

Standards of Conduct for Non-Profit List Rentals and Exchanges Patrick Frame of List Service Corp. presented the collaboratively developed “Standards of List Conduct for Non-Profit List Rentals and Exchanges.” This standard, which is currently supported by 39 parties, advocates the rights of list owners, accomodates the needs of mailers to become more effective in their fundraising strategies, and protects the privacy interests of the general public.

The standards document covers a lot of ground. I was particularly interested in the section on data card accuracy:

“The accuracy of datacards is paramount to allowing list brokers to make informed decisions for their clients. List managers should ensure that any publicly available datacards are accurate. These include datacards on the major datacard systems, on company websites, printed materials, etc.

Datacard items which must be clear and accurate include:

  • The date the fulfillment file was last updated – “updated monthly” is not sufficiently specific.
  • The date the datacard was last updated with current counts.
  • The dollar range included on each segment – both upper and lower dollar limits should be published.
  • The recency included on each segment “Actives” is not acceptable. A specific recency must be included such as 0-6mos.

If reciprocal pricing policies are utilized (whereby a list owner/manager alters published rates on a case by case basis to reflect the same rates charged by the other party) this policy must be noted on the datacard.”

Data Cards

Data cards were a main topic in the conference roundtable program. Fittingly, these discussions on data cards were held in the Medici room (the Medici family set standards for accounting and created efficient marketplaces). Paul Martin of Atlantic List Company said, “The data card is your store front that invites your customers into your store.”

Some of the specific ideas discussed were:

  • List Caps – many donor files exclude donors over a specific amount ($e.g. $99.99). Should this be explicitly stated on the data card?
  • Active donors – the definition of “active” varies from one list owner to another. Should the definition of active be explicitly stated on the data card?
  • NCOA date – with new rules on NCOA standards, it is important to know when a file has last been through NCOA processing. Should the data card store NCOA date?
  • List counts – should the data card have a button that enables the user to get count information?
  • List ratings – many other marketplaces enable users to rate products and services. Should ratings be added to the data card?

Many other topics were discussed. I was impressed by the level of thoughtfulness, professionalism, and candor that was exhibited in the conversation. The DMAW is truly a first-class organization with first-class members. They exemplify the standards for the industry. As such, NextMark is proud to sponsor the DMAW.