Direct Marketing Blog

News & views about direct mail, opt-in email, and online direct marketing
Profound Networks provides business intelligence data on all Internet-connected networks worldwide 6/10/2011

Network node information associated with 3 billion IP addresses on the global Internet will be used to target advertising, flag fraud, verify identities, and analyze network growth.

SEATTLE, WA — June 10, 2011. Profound Networks has announced a massive database of business intelligence data on Internet infrastructure and activities. This information, gathered through a comprehensive census of every active IP addresses on the global Internet, powers novel business applications. Profound Networks develops data-driven tools that are used to segment advertising, uncover medical billing fraud, and track and analyze network growth.

“Our rich data provides information on networks, servers, computers and smart phones, and even the software that’s been installed,” said Blake Sitney, president and chief technologist of Profound Networks. “We can segment this information by geographic area and by organization, often right down to ZIP code or business division.”

Profound Networks uses proprietary technology to unobtrusively gather the public data that exists behind every routable IP address on the global Internet. The company also monitors information on 920 million corporate subdomains, capturing information about network growth and about software and services on those networks.

Profound Networks unpacks and analyzes this data, then uses it to create cutting edge tools for clients in business and government. Sitney says clients are using the data for a wide range of purposes, from monitoring network growth to flagging fraud and blocking web signups that originate from suspect servers. Profound Technology’s current business units focus on display advertising, fraud mitigation, IP validation, and network analytics.

“Customers are coming to us with challenging requests,” said Sitney. “The demand for data about online activities is growing every day.”

About Profound Networks

Founded in 2005, Profound Networks employs a proprietary process to compile data on all the routable IP addresses on the global Internet — currently 3 billion addresses. Profound unpacks and analyzes IP-address data to create customized tools and services that address a wide range of business intelligence and security needs.

Profound Networks uses an innovative data-intelligence technology developed by Marigold Direct. This same data-intelligence technology is used by Marigold Direct, a direct marketing list acquisition firm serving a Fortune 500 client base.

For more information on Profound Networks’ data intelligence solutions, call Ben De Lisle, SVP Sales 646-331-7016 or email

Marigold Direct launches DNS Insight for IP Validation and Creative Segmentation 12/23/2009

Marigold Direct is proud to launch DNS Insight, a new email deliverability and creative segmentation tool. Managers of large opt-in email files now have another method to improve the quality of their database. The DNS Insight service validates IP addresses in customer files.

When a customer opts-in to receive email messages, several details are captured: the website where they opted-in, demographics collected via survey questions, the date and time stamp, and the IP address. The IP address is often overlooked as an important data element. DNS Insight looks to change that viewpoint. The IP address indicates the ISP or carrier network that the customer subscribes to. And by periodically testing the status of the IP address, owners of opt-in databases can see if the IP address remains active or not. We have found a strong correlation between inactive IP addresses and inactive emails. For example, if a customer upgrades from a dialup account such as AOL to a cable broadband account like Comcast, there is often a change of email addresses as well. The DNS Insight service can validate that change without sending an email and receiving a hard bounce back. Hard bounces damage the IP reputation of email broadcasters. The last thing a legitimate opt-in email provider wants for their service is to get blacklisted on the multitude of RBL or spam blocking services out there.

An additional benefit of IP Validation with DNS Insight is that the service can flag suspicious records in the customer’s database. During the pre-launch testing period, DNS Insight validated a 6 million record file of USA consumers and found 8,000 records all pointing to the same server in China. These records could have been “opted in” by means of some sort of automated process or bot. Flagging and removing records such as these will only improve the quality and responsiveness of the database.

Improving email deliverability is only half of the DNS Insight solution. Creative segmentation is the other half. DNS Insight will append a variety of new data elements to our customer files, including the fully qualified domain name of each IP address, and the carrier network that the IP address belongs to. The creative segmentation component adds considerable value to the database of DNS Insight customers. Innovative campaigns can be developed targeting specific networks such as Cable, or DSL customers as opposed to Dialup customers. Targeting customers from Educational or Government networks is now also possible. Distinguishing customers based on business or residential networks will prove to be a very valuable segmentation as well.

DNS Insight will work with reputable companies interested in maintaining the highest level of integrity and service. For more information, please visit

8 Tips for Sales Success in 2009 5/13/2009

Despite the new Administration in Washington touting change and hope, pessimism seems to be the most abundant emotion these days. However, the difficult economic environment is the best time to prove the value that you offer your customers. If your business is struggling, the following 8 tips can help you grow this year.

1. Don’t stop selling. There is less competition now for the services you sell. That means, there are less sales calls being made to your prospects and buyers. Now is the time to ratchet up your sales efforts. Create opportunities for people looking for work. Don’t have a budget for new salespeople? Hire commission only sales reps but give them the resources that they need to be effective. Don’t create hurdles, build runways. Not all of them will get airborne, but the ones that do will give your company a major lift.

2. Measure marketing response rates. Keep your marketing efforts going, but make sure that you are carefully evaluating the responsiveness of your campaigns. Eliminate non-performing campaigns and redouble your performing ones.

3. Government spending. The Obama administration is spending a trillion dollars to revive the economy. Find a way to tap into that avalanche of funds. Target the recipients of that cashflow if you can. Research ways you can make your business benefit from this spending.

4. Focus on the products that sell. If you have products that are not selling, remove them from your catalog. Focus on the products that are moving and expand your market for those products.

5. Think like a winner. Nothing demotivates like fear. How can you make another sales call if you are in a panic about your bills and mortgage? When you wake up in the morning, take a deep breath, get the blood flowing with some exercise, and go to work with the attitude that today you are going to ‘climb the mountain’ and make things happen. If the leadership in your company is not an inspiration, be that needed inspiration to others. Confidence sells. Desperation repels.

6. Reduce layoffs. Find ways to keep your performing staff. It is better to institute a 4-day workweek or even pay-cuts than to hand out pink slips. Laying people off sends a dismal message to your remaining employees and current customers. Customers don’t want to do business with a company that they perceive is going down the tubes. And losing customers and good staff can only make your problems worse. Ask your employees for ideas to save money, and reward those who come up with innovative solutions.

7. Connect with customers. It is critical to strengthen your business relationships. Visit a good customer that you have not seen in a while and make sure that you are doing everything you can to provide value to that customer. Face to face meetings show your interest in the customer. Build on your established relationships and grow those accounts.

8. Get customer feedback. Make your customers feel like you are on their team. With the exception of a few industries like bankruptcy law firms and dollar stores, your customers are probably feeling the effects of the downturn as well. Ask your customers what you can do for them to increase your value. If your customers are happy, ask for referrals. If they are not happy, listen to the complaint very carefully and take action. You cannot tell if the captain of the ship is good until a storm hits. Let your customers know that we are in this together and we will weather the storm.

B2B Email Marketing Tip #1: Subject Lines 4/22/2009

Far too often I have seen email creative efforts focus 99% of their time on the body of the email, that is, the copy, layout and graphic design and only 1% on the subject line. This is a huge mistake. Sometimes the subject line is a mere afterthought. In our experience conducting B2B email marketing campaigns, sometimes we receive the creative with beautiful images, HTML design, good copywriting and no subject line at all. We then ask for the subject line only to have one thrown back at us with minimal consideration. It is my opinion that 50% of the creative effort should go into development of the subject line itself and I will tell you why.

It does not matter how good the content of the email is if it does not get opened.

It’s like spending all your time decorating the interior of a store and ignoring the storefront window display. If a customer does not walk into the store because of a poor display, it does not matter how nice the interior looks, you can’t sell them anything. The first thing a customer sees is the storefront window. That is what will compel the customer to open the door and walk inside.

The sole focus of the subject line is to compel the recipient to OPEN the email. Subject lines can make or break a B2B email marketing campaign. Testing subject lines is crucial as well. Try 2 different subject lines in an A/B split test and track which subject lines get more opens. Remember, this test is not designed to track conversions or clickthroughs, that is for the body of the email. Use the better performing subject as the new standard and continue testing until you have a subject line that performs well.

Keep subject lines short and focused on benefits to the customer. You have two seconds to grab the recipients attention and compel them to open the email, or it’s deleted. If you are targeting an executive in your B2B email campaign, you are not alone. They are bombarded by offers. The subject line better be very compelling without being salesy.

Avoid keywords that will get spam filtered such as “free”, “money”, “for sale”. Avoid ALL CAPS and excessive punctuation marks!!! Keep the subject line under 75 characters because many email clients cannot display more than that e.g. Blackberry, iPhone, and Outlook. The key point is that the subject line is the first impression the customer gets of your company and your offer. Spend the same amount of time crafting and testing the subject line as you do designing the body of the email. Here are 2 subject line examples:

Bad subject line:
Act now and get a *FREE* whitepaper and save money with our *FREE* 90-day evaluation of our VoIP call center management software. And enter to win a *FREE* iPhone also!!!

Better subject line:
Complimentary whitepaper on VoIP call center mgt software

Direct Marketing Tips – Using a New Movers List 12/24/2008

Even in the age of the internet, direct mail marketing is far from dead. In fact direct mail can be an extremely effective way to market your business and get the word out about all the great products and services you have to offer. With the right tools, the response to a direct mail marketing campaign can be a vital method to grow your business, and that means more profits for you and more satisfied customers.

One of the most effective tools for certain local businesses planning a direct marketing campaign is to target new movers. Purchasing a list of new movers who have recently moved to your neighborhood and sending them a compelling offer to visit your shop or try your service is a proven way to build your business. New residents have many needs. They will look for new restaurants, a new pharmacy, dentist, health care services, car insurance, home insurance, furniture, utilities, phone services, and so much more. Savvy businesses can target those newly arrived residents with a smart and well thought out direct marketing campaign. Getting to the new mover first is also critical. E.g. When a pharmacy gets the prescription filled and provides a satisfactory service, chances are good that the customer will refill at the same pharmacy over and over again. The lifetime value of one new customer can pay for the entire direct mail campaign many times over. So getting that new customer first gives the business a huge advantage.

Many businesses find that direct marketing works best when the mailing provides a strong enticement for new customers to give them a try. In some cases this enticement may come in the form of a free sample or a free service. For instance, a local bakery could offer a free half dozen cookies, a free slice of cake or other sweet treat. A local bar and restaurant could offer a free drink with dinner. A local chiropractor, attorney or other professional could offer a free consultation. All of these giveaways are a great way to entice first timers to give the business a try. Moving to a new neighborhood can also be stressful, so a warm “Welcome to the neighborhood, come in for (a free checkup, a 50% discount, etc) can be a great way to gain the loyalty of the new resident.

In fact many businesses have used these tried and true techniques to lure new customers through their doors. When used with a highly targeted tool like a new movers mailing list these direct mail campaigns can provide an excellent return on investment and help spread the word about the business and all the great things it has to offer those new residents.

Using an Opt-In Email List to Build Your Business 12/22/2008

Ever since the earliest days of the internet email has been an effective and fast means of communication. Exchanges that would have once taken days or even weeks can now be completed in a matter of minutes, and email has allowed researchers, workers and ordinary citizens to communicate with one another across the country and across the globe.

Marketers were quick to understand the power of electronic communication as well, and soon email boxes everywhere were filled with unwanted marketing materials. The extremely cost effective nature of email marketing makes it a powerful tool, but it is important for businesses to use this powerful tool the right way. Launching an email marketing campaign that ignores the wishes of customers is counterproductive, and in some cases, illegal. Instead of gaining new customers, unwary business owners could find themselves in hot water with those they are seeking to persuade.

Fortunately there is another way – the opt-in email list. Using a trusted opt-in email service provider is a proven way to drive sales, create brand awareness and customer loyalty. Opt-in email marketing has many dynamics, but one thing is always consistent: The end user has agreed to receive marketing promotions. For this reason, targeted and relevant email campaigns directed to people who have opted-in is now a proven and effective marketing technique. In many cases, an opt-in lists is the best way to reach certain niche demographics. Niche marketing is one of the fastest growing parts of the advertising business, and as the market continues to fragment this trend is only expected to grow. Companies can no longer rely on mass marketing “spray and pray” techniques alone – these days companies need to be smarter about their message and relevant to customers. Opt-in email marketing provides an immediately measurable and cost effective way for companies in many different industries to reach those who are most receptive to their message. Is opt-in email marketing right for you?

Boost Direct Mail Profitability with Three Money Saving Tips 12/19/2008

In direct mail marketing, there are three main leverage points to increase profits: improve the response rate, increase the sales price of the item, or decrease costs. While you can certainly take steps to tackle response rates and price testing may not be a bad idea, decreasing costs is perhaps the easiest to tackle. It offers an immediate impact on the marketing budget that even the grouchiest bean counters acknowledge. Here are three steps to saving money on your next direct mail campaign that you can do immediately.

1. Improve mailing list hygiene. Every returned piece of mail costs the company postage, printing and mail house fees. If you’re using a house file, be sure that your mailing house or a list broker runs it against the NCOA list, or a list of people who have recently moved, so that you mail to their new address. If you’re mailing to similar lists, such as two competing magazine subscriber files, merge and purge the lists against one another to avoid duplicate mailings. Be sure to ask your mailing list broker or processing service to have your list run against a file of recently deceased people so that you do not mail to people who absolutely cannot respond to your offer…or anyone’s offer.

2. Check your creative against the U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) frequently updates the domestic mail manual, the Bible for direct mailers. It’s a free book available online in PDF format that guides direct mailers in every aspect of preparing their mail for postal mailing. Check your creative – envelopes, catalogs, self-mailers and postcards – against their guidelines. Be sure that you pieces fall within the established guidelines and that your creative team designs them to maximize discounts.

3. Work with your printer and ask questions. If you use a particular paper stock because that’s what your company always uses, a change may be in order. Ask your printer if any comparable stocks are available on the floor. He may have remnants or open cases he can use of a similar paper that can decrease costs. Or perhaps he knows of another client that purchases the same paper, and you can purchase together at near-wholesale costs if you know the number of mailings you plan to do in one year. Great printing companies act like marketing partners, working with you on your campaigns to help you achieve your marketing goals.

Direct mail continues to be a viable channel for all businesses. Tune up your marketing programs and try these three simple steps today.

SIC code mailing lists power industry-specific B2B campaigns 8/13/2007

SIC code mailing lists are the surest way to reach potential buyers in a particular field of business. Only a small percentage of the executives and managers of any given industry will attend a conference or subscribe to a trade journal; a much larger percentage will be represented in Marigold’s B2B lists.

Who takes advantage of SIC code mailing lists for their campaigns?

  • New businesses looking for an affordable way to introduce their products and services to potential buyers
  • Businesses expanding to new markets (introducing a commercial version of a product that has been successful with consumer audiences, for instance)
  • Businesses introducing a new product that has appeal to industries beyond those they currently serve
  • Businesses selling locally that are ready to expand their campaigns into a regional or national market

You can find out more about the hundreds of SIC code mailing lists available using Marigold’s SIC Code Lookup tool. Use it to browse the lists alphabetically, or to search by SIC code or keyword. You’ll find counts for lists and for sub-sets of those lists, along with extensive descriptions of each SIC code.

Any SIC code mailing list you choose can be refined (by applying selects for state, ZIP code, company size, and more) to target exactly the audience you want to reach.

Contact us for more information about SIC code mailing lists, including data recency, and how particular lists have performed for other clients.

Mailing lists: Your direct route to busy corporate-gift buyers 7/27/2007

For the the catalog industry, the all-important gift-giving season is just around the corner. Catalogs are in design, printing dates are scheduled, and mailing lists are being compiled.

Nearly every large and mid-size company in America gives holiday gifts. Internal gift-giving can range from clever, company-specific party favors to substantial “thank yous” to key players. Gifts to external clients range from basic items given out by sales staff to their accounts, all the way to truly lavish gifts sent from senior managers to their peers in client and partner organizations.

If you are currently selling items popular with corporate-gift givers, consider enhancing your 2007 holiday gifts campaign with Marigold’s proven Corporate Gift Buyers list. The list provides access to more than 600,000 authorized purchasers in the U.S.

Marigold’s list can be refined using a variety of selects. They include: business/industry type, company size, job function/title, state, and zip code. We can help you work with these and additional selects to refine a list that will reach exactly your target audience. Whether you are a national retailer aiming for Fortune 500 buyers, or a regional company looking to reach the right people in the organizations near you, this list means “Happy Holidays.”

How to get “double opt-in” for direct marketing email 7/13/2007

The use of double opt-in for a mailing list both protects you and boosts ROI. It protects you because it reminds customers that you are one of the “third parties” from which they have agreed to receive email. And it boosts ROI because your subsequent mailings, to those who have confirmed opt-in, will be focused on an ideal list: Prospects who are interested in your product or service and likely to recognize your name and brand.

Here are two proven tactics for getting opt-in mailing list names to double opt-in to receive future email:

  • Send an introductory email to your list talks about all the future benefits people will receive once they confirm their sign-up by replying to the email. (“Don’t miss out! You’ll be the first to know about sales and new products…”)
  • Send an introductory email offering a specific discount or preview when recipients confirm their opt-in by email. (“Let us know you’re interested, and we’ll send you a coupon for free shipping…”)

Both emails should start by reminding recipients of their original opt-in, and thanking them for their interest.

A third double opt-in tactic, described by the MailChimp blog, involves sending an introductory email (such as those described above) but asking the recipient to click through to your site to confirm instead of replying by email.

Some direct mail marketers use the click-through method because it enables them to see the visitor’s IP address. If they store this information, along with the date and time of the visit, they can confirm that a recipient has completed double opt-in and they can protect themselves from being accused of (or blacklisted for) spamming.

However, keep in mind that if you are using a rented list for email marketing, your recipients gave their initial opt-in to receive offers from third-party sites. This means that you (as one of those third parties) would probably be asking them to visit a site they don’t necessarily recognize. Some people may be wary of clicking through, and would be more willing to send an email reply for double opt-in.