Direct mail: Who’s got the lists?

Where do direct mail lists come from?

When direct marketers move beyond their own customer lists and begin renting mailing lists, they find a variety of sources to deal with. Here’s a quick guide to the three main types – list owners, list managers and list brokers.

List owners. Retail companies have customers’ data from subscriptions, surveys, and purchases, and many of these companies rent lists of the names and addresses to third parties; these lists are known as response lists. (Customers must give permission before their email addresses to be rented to third parties). Lists are also available from data warehouses, companies that compile massive databases of information from public records (real estate records, political donations); lists from these data firms are called compiled lists.

List managers and list brokers. Many list owners rely on a third-party to do the marketing, sales, and customer service for their direct mail lists. A list manager typically represents a narrow, focused group of related lists from specific owners. A campaign that wanted to access the subscribers of a particular magazine, for instance, would be dealing with the list manager who represents that magazine’s publisher. Data warehouses are more likely to use in-house list managers.

List brokers, such as Marigold, are similar to real estate agents. They provide to access to a wide range of lists from a wide range of owners. Of course, list brokers, like real estate agents, often have specialties in particular verticals. When talking with a list broker, be specific about the characteristics of the list you want. Their job is to be on top of what’s available in the broad field and to know how lists are performing for other customers.

New to renting direct mail lists? Please browse the Marigold Resources and take a look at our quick guide “How to Rent Mailing Lists” to find out more.

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