Contact List

Contact List

Contact List

The possession of an adequate and accurate list of names and addresses

There are several ways of building a list of names and addresses of people and firms to which direct mail advertising may be sent.

A. Existing Customers. Every business organization possesses a list of its current customers and the names of the individuals who occupy the decision-making positions.

B. Known Potential Customers. The Sales Department should be able to supply a list of those users of the kind of product one is offering, for these are the people to whom they are trying to sell. The Sales Manager should be asked to instruct his area salesmen to bring up-to-date the names of individual 'contacts' and the positions which they hold.

C. Trade and Local Directories. These will list the names and addresses of firms which are active in specific trades and industries, but care should be exercised because, inevitably directory entries quickly become out of date.

D. Use of List Brokerage Services. There are a number of firms which specialize in the supply of mailing lists, either for hire or outright purchase.

The mailing list is the foundation of any successful direct mail campaign. The list must not only be adequate, however, it must also be accurate. A great deal of money can be wasted if one is continuously posting matter to proposed recipients whose companies are either defunct or have moved away or who have themselves left their company's service. The Post Office in Britain can assist you if you seal the envelopes and mark them with the request: 'if undelivered please return to sender'. In the event of their failure to deliver, the postal authorities will return the envelope and contents marked 'Gone Away'. There is no extra charge for this service, which enables you to remove such unwanted names from your list.

A more difficult problem occurs when your letter is delivered to the company concerned but fails to reach the individual to whom it is addressed because he has left the company or moved to another department. Businessmen have a 'nose' for circulars and an envelope addressed to an ex-colleague long since departed will probably end up, unopened, in somebody's waste-paper basket. The best way of meeting this difficulty is to send to each company on the mailing list, at periodic intervals, a pre-paid reply card asking them to assist you in keeping your mailing list up-to-date by crossing through the names of individuals no longer interested in your product and adding the names of people within their organization who may be interested in receiving your future announcements. Not every firm will bother to send back the card. But even a negative response has its use, because it tells you that the company concerned is probably not going to be interested in anything you send them in the future and it may be advisable to remove their name from your list.

It is to the field salesman, however, that one should look for the regular supply of information which will keep the mailing list up-to-date. The company's sales representatives should be instructed that it is part of their routine work to notify Head Office of any changes which occur among the personnel of client firms. It is a good idea to provide them with a suitable form for the purpose, such as that shown below:


NextDegree In To Whom Are We Selling?



Please Note

The Trade is, of course, a major source of product ideas. All manufacturers examine, with avid interest, the new products of their competitors.

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