The advantages offered by list brokers
Direct marketing can be an effective business tool, but it can also be an expensive endeavor. In addition to the cost of producing and distributing a direct marketing campaign, businesses must undertake the cost and effort of compiling and maintaining a list of consumers to direct it at. One means of reducing this burden is purchasing a list from a list broker.
Mailing list brokers act as go-betweens, procuring lists from companies that have already compiled them and selling them to companies that haven't. Of course, the needs of each company are likely to differ, so rarely do brokers simply hand over the complete list from one company to another. Rather, they cull the lists, and may also combine them, to create a new list tailored to each client's needs.
Direct mail list brokers buy and sell mailing lists for catalogs, coupons, flyers and other printed media. These lists are usually targeted by geographic area but may be narrowed down according to other data, such as sex, age, homeownership, household income or marital status.
While direct mail is still a popular form of marketing, email marketing has gained momentum in recent years and is likely to grow as people rely more and more on electronic communication. Like their direct mail counterparts, email list brokers buy and sell lists of prospects, only instead of (or in addition to) mailing addresses, they provide contacts' email addresses.
If your business' target clients are other businesses, you'll probably want to look for B2B mailing list brokers, who specialize in compiling lists of business prospects to be used by other businesses for marketing purposes.
How to Choose a List Broker
Some people call themselves brokers but are actually just matchmakers, finding a company whose list best meets a client's needs and then arranging to buy or rent it—for a hefty commission, of course. In general, these "brokers" should be avoided. Look for one instead who already has a set of lists you can consider or who, for an additional fee, can create a customized list of targets who meet exactly the criteria you've defined.
A good list broker will try to understand your needs before he or she offers or finds you a list. Questions a broker should ask include: What type of list (business or consumer) do you want? How many prospects do you need? and What demographics are you trying to target?
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