Adventures In Stupidity: Mailing Lists

Today everyone wants “the list.” That list is usually something provided by some service as a mailing list of potential customers based on some criteria making it worth a certain price. You can buy them everywhere.

If you belong to some social network you can rest assured your name is not only on their list, but its on multiple lists they sift out and sell to the highest bidder. The issue here is – you get what you pay for, which brings me around to todays topic.

It’s one thing to be on a list from some national conglomerate or large regional retailer and receive some form of promotional material that in essence means, I might have to travel or venture a considerable distance to benefit. e.g., Coupons to an outlet store that may reside in a neighboring state and alike. We all get these and pretty much can figure out how we got on their list. However…

Over the last few weeks I have received direct mail from a few vendors offering me not only discounts but other benefits I can not possibly use. Like what you may ask? Well…

I have received specials from a local eye center to “drop in” for my free eye exam, an offer from a dentist to “drop in” for a free check up for new patients, a “special promotional price” if I sign up today and have what they’re installing installed, and even a “put this on your fridge so you know where to go in case of an emergency” from an urgent care center. All pretty innocuous: until you realize all of them, repeat – all of them – are from 3 states over, and 300 miles aways. I would bleed out before I was able to get stitches at the “urgent care” facility alone!

For what ever the reason what these companies have in common is they all must be buying the same list and it’s obvious not one of them knows what constitutes a “good list” because my name should have been removed solely on my address alone. Buying and utilizing a list that didn’t filter my address out in the first place shows prima facie they were more concerned with volume pricing rather than value.

When it comes to marketing, especially in economic times such as these remember: Quality when it comes to prospective customers beats quantity hands down every time. And if you want more proof on this idea just consider the following…

If you’ve been in business for any length of time longer than a week and someone tries to tell you “The world is their customer. and everyone in it is a potential customer. And all they have to do is let them know they’re open for business and people will flock” All they need is to borrow the money from you needed to reach them. Chances are (and I’d wager dollars to doughnuts) you’d stop listening after they said “the world.”

Yet, when you buy a list that has the ability to contain people who can’t use your services for obvious reasons; you’ve expressed pretty much the same. If you’ve paid a penny: you’ve paid too much, and wasted a whole lot more on time that could have been better well spent getting referrals from your existing customers.

You’ll gain far more business asking and courting referrals from existing customers – than wishing, hoping, paying, then praying via a fairy-tale mailing list any day.

© 2015 Mark St.Cyr