Evaluating Lists

/Evaluating Lists

Evaluating Lists

The most important element to consider when selecting lists for an international mailing is the list/country combination. Response by country within the same list can vary consistently by 1000% and more. When using regional or global lists, it is absolutely essential to monitor comparative response by country within list across all the lists you mail. Simple response analysis software can help you do this. If you don’t do this, and many mailers don’t do it, you can waste a lot of money. The process of carefully testing new lists and new countries helps you build the universe of good lists and good countries that work for you.

These lists consist of individuals and businessmen in many countries who have responded previously to an international offer from offshore. Except for those on controlled circulation magazine lists, these individuals, by responding, have demonstrated their ability to charge an international credit card or remit a U.S. dollar bank draft. Such individuals are your best prospects internationally, and should be “creamed off” first before mailing local lists in any one country.

Beware of unaudited local magazine subscriber lists around the world. Datasheets look good, but often the numbers are fictitious especially when counts end with 1, 2, 3 – or even 4 zeros. This is a real warning signal.

Subscriber files which are ABC or BPA audited tend to be cleaned and updated regularly by the magazine publisher. They have a vested interest in keeping their files clean because it’s expensive these days sending copies to subscribers who have expired or “gone away”. Subscriber files are more interesting than controlled circulation files because the non-renewal rate is much higher on an annual basis so the publisher therefore needs to continually refresh their files with replacement subscribers.

After monitoring over a period of time, you will find that some quite big lists are worth taking for a few countries only -or even one single country which is currently “hot”!

“Free offer” generated lists tend to be marginal – however, there are exceptions. Management selections tend to work best for a wide range of offers, whereas technical or specialist job functions work less well unless an offer is very targeted, but even then a top management selection often performs better.

Even trade directory and telephone book names work well in certain Caribbean, African, Pacific and Middle East countries where no other local lists are available. In larger markets, such lists work for 6 months after they are first compiled, and then die. Business-to-Business mailers are often successful slugging a job title on to a compiled or gathered company name and address. Company addresses change less frequently than employees, and it’s better to have a descriptive job function on your label than a named employee who has left the company.

Globally, the list universe is not large. You can only reach larger volumes when you begin to roll-out to local lists on a local basis at Stage 2. Stage 1 is to test a range of potential local markets from offshore, using the “Offshore Strategy” and multinational/regional lists, BEFORE investing in and taking risks in any one onshore market. In many markets you may need to use local language on roll-out.

Meanwhile you can only continue to mail smaller countries from offshore especially where there is no local DM infrastructure and no local lists. But collectively all such countries represent a sizeable and growing universe of names which can only be reached using an “Offshore Strategy”.

There are relatively few Mail-Order Buyer files which are multinational. Most are local files generated locally using local lists or using off-the-page advertising in local media.

Businessmen and professionals on business newsletter and magazine subscriber files, and merchandiser buyer or seminar attendee lists multinationally, invariably respond well to consumer offers. After all, they are “consumers” as well as businessmen. Their most important attribute is to have responded previously to an international offer from offshore, regardless of the nature of the offer to which they have responded.

In the old days, international mailers would “dry up” after mailing Fortune and Business Week Subscribers, Alexander Hamilton, Collin Street Bakery, Harvard Business Review and a few other multinational lists. Nowadays the situation has improved immeasurably. There are many new regional, multinational and local files coming on to the market, and many of these are performing well. The ratio of consistently successful lists to marginal and poor lists is not particularly good, but then it never has been either in international or domestic markets. When testing new lists, it’s always advisable to take a “recency” selection where available.

One of the most exciting developments is that many more countries are responding well to international offers from offshore than ever before, which is gradually increasing the universe of names available to international mailers pursuing an “Offshore Strategy”. The Internet is also generating new lists with both postal and email addresses.

MLG has specialized in brokering multinational and the most responsive local lists since 1983. The company’s knowledge of lists that are currently responding well, and equally important, the countries around the world that are responding well above average, is unrivalled. You can avoid wasting money on poor markets and marginal lists by consulting MLI at an early stage in your planning.

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