Marketers looking to acquire new customers or generate sales leads typically rely on outside data providers for lists and contact data to give them access to new markets. But when they place an order for prospecting data, marketers often end up with data that isn’t exactly what they had in mind. What happens then? They have to order again, wasting time and money. Or, worse, they may use the data in a campaign and wind up with suboptimal results. With a bit of planning and strategy, these problems can be avoided. Let’s look at techniques you can use to obtain the right lists and data to produce a successful prospecting campaign.
The data ordering process, step by step
1. Find a data broker. A broker represents the interests of the marketer, and develops a deep knowledge of the lists and data available from many sources. You want a broker with experience in your target audience category. Ask around. Find out the names of brokers working with your competitors. Once you select a broker, make that person your full partner.
2. Describe your target. Use your market research, audience profiles and personas—whatever richness you can add to the description and the marketing strategy. The broker will convert your description into the language of data, and come back to you with a recommendation for lists and segments (selects) with the closest possible match to your vision. Build in enough time for the broker to research your options and prepare a recommendation for you.
3. Review the recommendation thoroughly. Here, too, ensure you have enough time for due diligence. Please see to the right for tips on how to evaluate the list recommendation.
4. Take a sample of the data to test, if there’s time and if the universe of potential prospects is large enough. If you end up with a sizable file from a single list, consider developing a message specific to the characteristics of that audience.
5. Examine the data on arrival. If the data was sent directly to your agency or another third party, request a sample from them. Visually inspect the output for problems like transposed or missing fields, or names that appear to be duplicates. Compare a sample of records against your own database to check for outdated addresses or phone
numbers. In B2B, ask your sales team to look at names in key accounts they manage.
6. Post campaign, review the results and share them with your broker.
How to get the best work from a list broker
- Select an expert. The basic function of a list broker is to help you find the right lists and handle all the logistics of ordering, delivery and payment. But the key is expertise. You want to select someone with deep knowledge of your industry, your customers, and your competitors. In fact, it is often wise to select a broker who works with your competitors themselves.
- Share everything. A good broker is going to partner with you. The more information you can provide about your campaign goals, your market, your products, your offer, your past results—the better the broker can perform. This is not the place to be shy, or cagey.
- Involve the broker early. Call the broker while the target prospect is still being defined, well before the offer and the creative are in development. The broker might have some good suggestions for how your campaign can be improved.Early involvement will also allow the broker time to do in-depth research, get you accurate counts, and beat the bushes for ideas.
- Use a single broker. Some marketers like to divide up their business and play brokers off against one another. But what you earn in loyalty and service by using a single broker generally trumps the competitive play.
Look for market knowledge versus media specialization. Most brokers today operate in multiple media. New media come onto the scene regularly. What you want is someone who understands your target audience, and has the experience and connections to help you reach it, through whatever media channels are available.
- Pay the fees. Some marketers try to negotiate down the broker’s standard 20% fee. Others try to do the brokerage function in house, demanding the fee equivalent in discounts from the list owner. Neither is a smart move. Brokers easily earn their money, and you don’t need the aggravation. And, when you think about it, the 20% represents only a tiny fraction of the total campaign CPM.
- Ask for new ideas. Tell your broker you’re looking for full team membership. That you want not only list recommendations, but all kinds of ideas for how to reach your target market.
- Be open. And be sure to test some of your broker’s ideas when you get them.
This information has been extracted from the white paper ‘How to Place an Order for Prospecting Lists and Data’ By Ruth Stevens. Download your copy here.