As we’ve mentioned in previous issues of Printips, the success of any direct mail marketing campaign depends primarily on the mail list. Studies have shown that 60% of the response rate can be attributed to the mail list, while only 20% each is attributable to the offer and the appearance of the mail piece. Given the importance of a mailing list, we recommend that all our customers understand the basics in order to make the best use of any list – internally-generated or purchased.
Mail lists can be divided into two basic categories: house lists and rented lists.
A house list is one you compile yourself and consists of customers and prospects. The customer portion of a house list might include both current customers and those who haven’t purchased in a while (and therefore would be considered inactive). Prospects are those whose demographic characteristics match those of your customers, but who haven’t yet purchased anything from you.
Rented lists consist of compiled lists containing names and addresses that have been gathered from secondary sources; response lists, composed of people who have made purchases or responded to offers; and specialty lists, containing names and addresses of a specific nature (such as a mailing list covering education, healthcare, religion, or government listings). Compiled lists are further subdivided into residential or consumer lists and business lists. Finally, a residential list may include names or may contain a generic descriptor such as resident or occupant instead of the name.