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What to Avoid When Looking for List Rentals

Successful list rental for customer acquisition programs relies on trying to find lists that match your current best customers. This can be difficult, so what exactly are your options?

Single-sourced vs. Multi-sourced Lists 

Single-sourced list rentals are like they sound. They’re based on a single source of information, e.g. phonebooks, voter registration lists, or property deeds. They can often be dated and deliver poor results, but these lists are usually inexpensive. If you’re narrowly targeting a group that really matches one of these lists, they can work better than usual. 

For example, if you want to reach people who just bought a new home within the past 60 days, then newly sold property deed lists might work. But you’re missing out on targeting against other smart variables like household income, home price, geolocation, etc., which are likely to be important to the outcome of your campaign. 

Multi-sourced lists are constructed of hundreds of compiled and proprietary data sources with multiple verification processes and, usually, are built on the individual-level persons at the address, up to the household level. 

Compiled vs. Response Lists 

Compiled lists can be rich in data and less costly than response lists. Compiled databases are built by merging many public files, retaining data from each source for optimal prospect targeting and validations. These lists can be used for statistical targeting and are more cost effective. 

Response lists are made up of people who have previously inquired about, or purchased, a specific product or service. They work the best when used for marketing via the same channel as the list was originally acquired. (So, an email marketer might buy a response list that was compiled based on past inquiries or purchases made by email; a telemarketer would buy a list based past inquiries or purchases made by phone.) These lists can be expensive, are often limited in size, and tend to generate higher acquisition costs, as your competitors are likely buying the same lists. If these lists are from a co-op, then these issues are amplified because you have to contribute your customer list, which generates increased churn amongst your existing customers. 

Single Use vs. Multiple Uses 

One-time only rentals will be the least expensive list option. Multi-time usage of a list rental within 60-90 days could add a 25% to 50% up-charge. Twelve-month unlimited use fees can be double the initial price. 

What is best for your customer acquisition program? 

Sourcing net-new prospects can be complicated. In order to connect with potential customers, you want to know what makes both your current and potential customers stand out from the “random household.” What makes them tick? 

When searching for lists there are four important criteria to consider: 

  1. Behavioral Criteria A powerful prospect list incorporates smart data, like buyer behavior and actions, which helps identify a prospect’s intent and gives an indication about whether or not they’re likely to buy. For example, people who are avid exercisers, gym members, purchasers from outdoors catalogs, subscribers to travel magazines, and people who have registered for hunting and fishing licenses are showing intent patterns.
  2. “Need” Criteria –“Need” criteria identify people most ready to make a purchase. These prospects have a need for a product in general or have reached a moment in time that’s triggered a need. For example, a family with children has a higher need for life insurance than does a single person just joining the workforce. A newly listed home for sale can trigger the need for moving and storage offers.
  3. Geographic Criteria Look for lists that have smart geographical input: e.g. mileage radii around a store, by carrier routes, by zip code(s) or counties, and/or by sets of states to properly locate prospects when renting lists.
  4. Demographic/Financial Criteria – Demographic criteria are commonly used and there are hundreds of data elements available. However, demographics can be the most abused criteria so be careful. Many marketers look at prospect or customer demographics in a vacuum. Don’t define prospect criteria by demo data alone. Pick demographic factors that demonstrably help identify prospects who are most willing to respond to offers.

Optimally, the best solution would allow for a combination of the above criteria. 

Moving Acquisition into The Predictive Era 

datadecisions Group’s Reach Platform offers a predictive marketing application that not only takes the four criteria above into account, but it goes far beyond traditional list rental techniques. The platform offers powerful technology that uses machine learning to analyze large amounts of data and apply predictive models that will identify groups of net-new prospects, who look most like your existing customers. You can get insights on your customers, and you can identify and download your best marketing prospects in a matter of minutes. 

Upload a set of current customers, and the Reach Platform will quickly clean and append hundreds of attributes to give you powerful insights about your customers and your best prospects. Hit download and take your new predictive-based prospects and plug them into your next marketing campaigns for improved performance and ROI. 



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Whitney Hamilton
Whitney Hamilton
Whitney Hamilton is the Marketing Communications Manager at Data Decisions Group. Her expertise includes the mining of consumer facts and data from DecisionPoints, our national consumer data and list solution.