Marketing Lists: What Every List Buyer Should Know

This week, we have a guest blog on Marketing Lists from Blueberry Wave – our thanks to them for this interesting and informative publication regarding what makes a great marketing list…..

Why Is a Great Marketing List Important?

A great marketing list can mean the difference between a mediocre and a magnificent direct marketing campaign. But no matter how good your strategy, how insightful your targeting or how compelling your messaging, a bad list is the fastest route to failure.

Wrong name? It fails…..

Wrong title? It fails…..

Person on the same list twice? Well, you get the picture!

Poor quality marketing list - coffee bean snapping a pencil in frustration

A list simply being up to date and de-duplicated is the very least any marketer should expect. The real goal is qualified prospects, people who might actually be ready to buy or at least fit a typical buyer profile. So where do you begin?

Don’t Buy a Marketing List, Buy a Prospect Pool!

Everyone is working on a tight budget today and you want maximum value for money. So why buy a marketing list when you can buy a prospect pool? You want data on people who are likely to buy from you, you want them in quantities that make sense to you and fit within your budget. If your business works selling to 50 customers, you don’t need a list of 50,000.

The starting point for understanding prospects is the data you already have. What relevant pointers is it giving you about your customers? It could be the type or size of company, the level of person who makes the decision, the company location or how often they buy. Develop a scoring system to rank your best and worst prospects. Don’t waste your money chasing prospects that score badly. If you have good penetration already in a particular sector, is there genuine room for growth? Can you see opportunities in sectors where your current penetration is low?


Next step is to use this insight to develop an effective marketing list buying brief and help any list owner understand the kind of people you want to sell to. You know something useful about your customers and want find more people just like them. Don’t simply rely on SIC codes. They are a very blunt tool and were last updated in 2007. Tony Blair was still Prime Minister, Twitter was only a year old, Facebook was still a private network for University students. Maybe things may have changed a bit since then?

Campaign With Confidence

Of course, you’ll want to know that the prospect pool is up to date, relevant, de-duplicated and has great depth. Sadly, there are many marketing lists around that aren’t. For starters, you will want individual name, title, function, address, email address, phone number and purchasing authority. The more relevant variables the data covers, the more insightful your analysis can be and the more effective your scoring system.

So, you’ve found some great prospect pools, it might be tempting to just contact them all and wait for the business to come rolling in. That could be a mistake. First, did your scoring system look at buying patterns? Seasonality could be a significant factor. Second, you might want to run a test before blowing your entire budget. What looked like a causal relationship in your analysis could turn out to be just a correlation.

Select two or three variables that look really significant and run a short term, tightly defined test to find out which really make a difference. Scoring might have said that female FDs at start-ups are your perfect prospect but it’s always better to run a test. Then you can approach your campaign with confidence!

Finally, in our dynamic business world, learning is key. Record the campaign data and feed it back into your scoring system. Your crucial variables will become clearer (they may not be those you have traditionally relied on) and you’ll be able to plan future campaigns with an even greater chance of success.


We always welcome feedback on our blogs and invite you to leave your comments.

Other related blogs you might enjoy:

Right Message, Right Person, Right Time

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