"From the time I began my business until
today, I have expended energy and money on my mailing
list. Bankers believe that our physical plant and our
computer systems are our main assets but they are
mistaken. It's our list."
Vernon, CEO of Lillian Vernon Corp., in her book, An
The most vital aspect of a direct mail
marketing campaign isn't a creative letter or a dazzling
offer. It's a good mailing list of prospects.
In fact, advertising professionals say that as much as 60
percent of your success in direct mail depends on getting the
right names. But before you can find the perfect list, you
need to define your ideal customer based on factors such
Age, gender and income level
Profession or educational level
Size of a company
If you're trying to sell luxury
cars to affluent people, it's obviously a waste of money to
mail an offer to folks earning $30,000 a year. But that's just
what some companies do. This is truly one area where you can
be "penny wise and pound foolish."
You can try to search for mailing lists yourself but there
are literally thousands to choose from. Some are compiled from
the names of people who have responded to an advertisement or
purchased a product. Others are simply lists of people in a
certain profession, such as doctors or landscapers.
It's generally best to find a broker who can identify the
right lists for your company. Then, make sure the names are
current. Even a list that's 12 months old already has many
names and addresses on it that are no longer accurate because
people move, close post office boxes, retire, and make other
Waters: Once you find some lists that you
believe will work, try a small mailing before you leap into a