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How to Use a List Broker

Jan 29, 2008
Marketing is not an exact science because it depends on human behavior to measure the results and it does not have predetermined outcomes based on laws like Newton's Law of Motion or Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Marketing is one part of a big picture of spreadsheets, sales meetings, polls, research and development, water cooler talk, coffee talk, late nights and daydreaming.

Marketing is the puzzle of business that drives sales and perplexes many inventors who build and create wonderful things and then fall flat on their face, financially bankrupt and wonder, "Why doesn't anyone want my XYZ thingamajig?" Well, if their invention is every bit as good as they think it is, then it should be able to sell itself, right? No, things can't sell themselves, except for maybe the wheel but hey, we keep on inventing new wheels don't we? People buy things from other people who sell things - that's "people", people.

There are many forms of marketing and they are constantly changing to adapt to the way people live, work, and most importantly, buy. In fact, we really started communicating en masse with the creation of daily newspapers centuries ago. Before that we just stood on top of hills and yelled at each other. Yelling is still considered by some to be a very effective form of marketing today but now we have a bit more finesse because yelling is generally believed to be rude.

The world of marketing is made up of various components, such as advertising (print, online, radio, tv), direct marketing, telemarketing, trade shows, etc. List brokers try to connect the right customers to the right companies. A good list broker is a talented matchmaker. They talk to marketing executives at corporations, advertising firms with multinational clients, entrepreneurs, inventors, network marketers, small businesses, and so on and so on. Essentially, they get the marketing lists that will return the best results for their client, big or small, depending on their specific marketing campaign.

So how do you use a List Broker? First, know what you want and have the budget for. Going fishing with a broker will probably result in both of you being disappointed. I'm talking about asking for information and data about a vague marketing campaign that you don't have the budget for - if you invest in your business your business will grow.

Second, if you have had success with previous sales, the list broker can figure out how you can target more of the same people. Markets are divided into groups of people (i.e. consumers) by demographics like age, zip code, households, presence of children, type of cars, credit cards, recent purchases, opera lovers, etc, or types of companies (businesses) with selects such as number of employees, sic code, number of PC's, etc.

Third, your offer or message - this is where the money and time really goes when you are creating a campaign. If you are going to only run one marketing campaign, your offer had better be very good. After all, if no one is interested in your offer, you will not be making sales and cash flow will be tight. The general rule of thumb is that you need to send your offer 3 - 7 times.

Fourth, evaluating your campaign - direct marketing is so popular because list brokers are able to key code your list so that you can track your campaigns and determine where they succeeded and where they did not. These statistics are extremely important whether you are spending $2000 or $200,000 because they tell you what works and what doesn't.

Most list brokers offer Email, Postal and Telemarketing lists - each one can work in concert with the other and they can all be tracked effectively to deliver statistics and sales that translate into customer service and loyalty. Newspapers or print are very popular forms of marketing but they typically are not as successful as direct marketing. The average response rate is 2% for DM. If you could get 2% of people who viewed your ad in a newspaper to respond, you'd be ecstatic!

The bottom-line is that we live and work in an information-based society. Understanding the data that drives your business is the foundation to business success over the long term. Contact a List Broker to help you put long-term marketing goals into a successful business cycle.
About the Author
James Ingram is VP Marketing for Strategic List Services, Inc. Direct Marketing Lists Specialists - Contact Strategic List Services for your next Direct Marketing Campaign.
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