Direct marketers of all stripes have rented lists and exchanged their names with competitors and non-endemic mailers for over 50 years. This time-honored practice has proven to be highly beneficial to both list owners and mailers, particularly when necessary safeguards are in place to protect intellectual property along with personal privacy.
Consumers and businesses have also benefitted from the ethical sharing of transactional information via direct mail and other established marketing channels. That’s how most folks today learn about new products and services, along with information on charitable appeals.
Sharing Your Names With Others Can Be Beneficial
It is well known that reciprocal list rentals and exchanges can yield big dividends for list owners and mailers — and serve as an important source of incremental revenue as well — when customer or donor names are managed in a thoughtful and principled manner.
If you want to protect your list from abusive practices and maximize its lifetime value, we recommend that you don’t share your names with every Tom, Dick, or Harriet, as they do in some public and private cooperative databases.
What Can an Experienced List Manager Do for You?
An experienced list manager can identify new opportunities to grow your list and avoid pitfalls. The right person is someone who knows the ins and outs of the list business. Aside from turning your names into cash and opening new doors to reciprocal rentals and list exchanges, a good list manager will keep you informed about data-sharing and warehousing practices. They can also facilitate “cross-member” modeling opportunities in cooperative databases, which will enable you and others to reactivate older names on your list and external files.
How Do Cooperative Databases Differ From Professional List Management?
In the past two decades, several thousand mail-order companies and a growing number of non-profit groups have allowed third parties to commingle their transactional information in public and private cooperative databases in exchange for paid access to “modeled” names. When this process takes place, a private company monetizes your data in exchange for “membership” in their coop. Unlike traditional list management, there are no royalty payments to your company or non-profit organization.
Unfortunately, coops leave the door open for strangers and even competitors to access your names at any given time, without the benefit of list rental clearance or mail date protection.
Once your names are shared with cooperative databases, you lose control of them in perpetuity. Conversely, if you secure your names through a veteran list manager, you can protect them from being over-mailed, increase the size of your customer or donor list, and insure that specific privacy and regulatory concerns are addressed. That’s where a list manager like AccuList USA® can help you.
How Can a List Manager Protect You From Potential List Abuse?
A first-rate list manager can give you practical advice on restricting access to names that reside in cooperative databases. For example, in coops, you can block competitors from using your names, or letting the coop append transactional information from your list and sharing it with outsiders. This includes those who are enriching so-called “Big Data” files for social media companies, micro-targeting, or other cross-channel marketing purposes.
As a list owner, you have an affirmative right to know who is mailing your names, at what time of year, and for what purpose. Your customers or donors expect you to use their transactional information responsibly and not share their names gratuitously. The last thing you want is to lose consortium with your customers or donors, or have them tell their friends and relatives about your marketing missteps.
You can have the best of both worlds by designating an experienced list manager to rent or exchange your names subject to pre-approval of offers or fundraising appeals.
High-Quality Direct Mail Names Are Still in Demand
The demand for high-quality, direct mail-sourced names has never been greater. In fact, solo direct mail names actually command a premium in the marketplace. That is because they are known to generate much higher response and conversion rates. Respondents to direct mail tend to be more loyal as well.
When direct mail is combined with a multi-channel strategy, such as driving a buyer or donor online, the result is an even more loyal customer or sustaining donor. Multi-channel-sourced names can be easily identified through a match-back analysis, where it is known that a buyer or donor was incited to act offline via direct mail or ultimately went online to purchase or donate. Multi-channel-sourced names are the cream of the crop for prospecting.
If your company or group is able to track the marketing channel that drove a customer or donor to be added to your list, you may want to charge a premium to rent those names. That is particularly true when they are sourced from high-quality direct mail or e-mail lists, where each name can be attributed to a specific marketing channel.
Experienced List Managers Can Help You Monetize Your Names
To generate new cash, or to grow your customer or donor list through list exchanges, you can use an exclusive list manager. Companies or groups that re-mail your names through the list manager can be added to your mailing plan for prospecting, including lists belonging to fellow participants in cooperative databases. Those new list sources should be among your top performers because they share a certain commonality with your customers or donors. Unless your list is on the market, you will not have this unique opportunity to cost-effectively grow your list.
Put Privacy at the Top of Your List
Before you take the plunge and rent your names, make sure that your customers or donors have affirmatively opted in to your list, and are periodically informed about your data-sharing policy. When it comes to garnering consumer trust, it is best to let others know that from time-to-time their names may be shared with third parties whose offers or fundraising appeals may be of interest. If they prefer to be left alone, their names must be opted out of all data-sharing opportunities.
In today’s “Big Data” ecosystem, it is in your group’s or company’s best interest to leverage various data sources, particularly where permission-based marketing is de rigueur. As you learn more about your customers or donors, you will generate more sales and gifts.