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Know your universe. Not just your list universe, but your market’s universe. Example: Your mailer wants to mail 1MM Registered Nurses (RN’s). If you scan the list market you may find 20+ RN compiled files, each having around 3MM records. Your marketing plan is to order names from 4, 5 or 6 different lists, thereby not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Good job, right? Not always. If you researched the industry universe you would find that according to the Center for Nursing Advocacy there were a total of 2.9MM RNs in 2004. So logic would say that while there are 20 different lists on the market, each having around 3MM records, they all have to include basically the same records. It doesn’t matter how many different sources are used… a defined universe is what it is. The main difference will be in the quality and recency of the records, not whether it was compiled from the internet, directories or any other source.

So what do we recommend? Ask the right questions:

  • When was the entire list last run through NCOA?
  • How often is the entire file recompiled?
  • Does it update all at once, or state by state?
  • How (source) and where (USA or overseas) is the list compiled? 

Once you have those answers, you will be able to select the best lists... or list.

What about when your mailer demands that you find new sources? This is a difficult position, but we support brokers who want to educate their clients. A client needs to understand that by reducing the number of lists ordered, they will reduce their duplication rate and you will be able to negotiate better prices for them by ordering a higher quantity per order. Further, you can prove it to them by getting state counts from different compilers and showing that the numbers per state are virtually the same, concluding that they are basically the same records. If the numbers do not match, then you may have found an anomaly within the selected industry and truly found a source for additional records.

Most compilers are not going to help you ask, or answer these questions, since in essence it means that fewer names may be ordered. So why do we bring up questions that otherwise may not be asked? Quite honestly, we would rather not rent names then rent unneeded names. We are in business to offer solutions - necessary and valuable solutions - not to add to the glut of compiled names on the market. We consider ourselves a broker for brokers, not “managers” or “compilers”. Although we do represent list owners, they come to us understanding and backing our business philosophy.

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