B2B vs B2C Email Marketing: Main Differences
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Email List Buying: Hints and Tips

The Email list marketplace is adapting quickly with new list sources, changing legislation and terminology of its own. Richard Gibson, Commercial Director of RSA Direct (Direct Marketing) & Opt -4 (Data Protection Consultancy) looks at some pointers to ensure marketers make an informed choice:

  • Ask to see the website and specifically the registration page where the data is collected. This will help you understand the permission levels.
  • Sign up to the newsletters yourself; see what kind of communications the site sends out and who they rent their list to. This will enable you to see how close a fit the website's brand is to your offer.
  • As with traditional off line lists used for mailing and telemarketing purposes responsive lists will be used frequently. Ask the seller who these successful users are, a further insight into who is using the list.
  • Does the permission level allow the marketer to send a solus campaign or does the template have to be branded from the data owner? This is key to understanding this before planning your campaign. There are arguments for both types of Email campaigns - branded i.e. from the data owner can be seen as and endorsement.
  • In B2B are generic Email addresses included? Should they be? It is common for some business types to use only one, generic Email. The seller should be able to exclude these at your request.
  • How large is the file size? Does it seem realistic within your target market? Be wary of huge file sizes. If the file is significantly more than you expected question the seller. Use selections to further hone in on your target audience.
  • Pricing. Understand what is included in the price. Some providers include transmission and basic reporting in their advertised base rental or CPM's others do not. If not then you need to build these costs into your ROI calculations. 
  • Can the seller provide de-duplication of your house list against the prospect list? What happens if there are multiple lists involved?
  • The media owner should have no problem sharing with you what your report will look like. Ask questions; does the technology they use count unique clicks? How many reports will you receive and when will you see them? Some providers include limited tracking in the price. Some marketers who use a specialist technology provider can report independently of the data owner's solution and therefore get a greater level of detail on key metrics.
  • Ask the seller who will undertake the transmission of the Email. Most data owners and managers prefer to do the "send" or "fulfilment" themselves through their ESP (Email Service Provider), they may have arrangements for other ESP's to undertake the transmission.
  • Ask about the question about bounces. Are there any guarantees and assurances in place for bounces? Unscrupulous data suppliers will oversupply by significant margins to ensure response is buoyed. A small oversupply is to be expected, ask what the oversupply will be and how many hard bounces could be expected; will a credit be applied if it exceeds the oversupply?

A uninformed choice can cost more than the campaign; the recipient will see the advertiser as being at fault, potentially a spammer. Damage to brand can be far greater than the cost of the list and the time involved. With a few pre-campaign checks and questions to the seller you should be able to make an informed list selection.

This article appeared in a newsletter called "B2B Data Matters", a quarterly electronic publication, which seeks to educate senior management, practitioners and users of business-to-business data on how to optimize business data for profit. The primary focus is enterprise and professional personal data for sales and marketing applications in Europe, and internationally.

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