Welcome to Broker Roundtable, where each week we ask list brokers to give their opinions on issues that matter to the marketing community. This week’s question: With targeting becoming ever more precise, how important do compiled lists remain and why?
Our current panel includes Price Anderson of DirectMail.com, Patricia Leone of Leon Henry Inc., Dave Hare of New England List Services Inc., Michael Peterman of Veradata and Michele Volpe of Media Source Solutions. Would you like to be considered to be a member of our roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Price Anderson, vice president, sales and marketing, DirectMail.com:
Compiled lists remain an important source for smart marketers. But, as with any other list, they are only as good as the underlying data. That said, the accuracy, depth and targeting opportunities that today’s top compiled data providers offer are astounding.
We are seeing an increasing number of sources used to enhance compiled data, primarily online data being linked to traditional compiled data sets. In the future, we will see the melding of all marketing channel preferences, history, behaviors and data into a single data set. Since marketing is all about relevancy—getting the right message to the right audience through the right channel at the right time—these super-compiled data sets will be the foundation of many marketing campaigns.
Dave Hare, president, New England List Services Inc.:
I still like compiled files because the universes are larger and the cost per thousand lower. I recommend them in combination with buyer files for a well rounded marketing program.
Patricia Leone, senior account executive, Leon Henry Inc.:
Compiled lists continue to be of great importance, particularly in the business-to-business arena. For general consumer mailers, compiled files offer a very substantial universe of names and addresses which can be segmented and modeled to reach the customer you wish to target.
In the business area, they allow a mailer to reach employees of almost any company and select them by title, Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, employee size and sales volume—names and selects that are sometimes not available on direct response lists, which generally cost far more.
Michael Peterman, CEO, Veradata:
While standalone compiled data doesn’t yield the same response, it has tremendous value in terms of predictive analytics. Nearly every name and address that goes out the door has filtered through some degree of analysis. Without compiled data, that analysis is very difficult to do well and is much less finely tuned. Any major compiled database (KBM, Acxiom, InfoGroup, Epsilon, etc) has hundreds of demographic/behavioral/attitudinal attributes to use for selections and to develop models. While some attributes have limited field density, others are broadly useful for building predictive models. As we move forward, this compiled data is going to become more and more valuable for this reason. The days of ‘age and income’ selects are coming to an end—this same data will now be used to develop complex genetic algorithms and to fuel support vector machines and the like.
Michele Volpe, vice president of sales and marketing, Media Source Solutions:
I’m a big believer in using compiled lists. I don’t even think it’s fair to call them “compiled” anymore. They are really complex databases that have been assembled from a variety of direct response sources including, e-mail, the Internet, TV, radio, direct mail and more. The consumers are asked to complete information about them prior to finalizing the transaction, whether it’s signing up on an online site, calling in from a TV or radio ad or responding to an e-mail campaign. The data goes through several hygiene processes to verify its accuracy and deliverability. The compiled data can now go as far as identifying a prospect that has purchased within the last 30 days using a credit card. What mailer wouldn’t want to send their offer to this prospect?
It’s hard to change the mindset of mailers who are used to thinking of compiled information coming from the white pages where little is known about them other than their address and phone number. If they could see the file layout showing detailed information that is known about today’s consumer in a compiled database, they would be sending over their orders without hesitation. Another valuable use of compiled data is using it for appends or enhancements. Modeling is also another option that is underutilized. With all this rich data available, it seems strange to me that mailers don’t take advantage or at least test these databases to find out how they can work for them.