Over the last six months I have had a crash course in marketing utilizing direct marketing lists.  During that time, I have worked with a number of providers of specialized direct marketing services.  I have seen some very good marketing practices and services and I have seen some services that were not worth paying for.

As I proceed into 2008, my own company will be focusing even more on this market.  It is currently going through a rapid upheaval as many direct marketing services fail and as many others consolidate with each other.

It has been my experience that if a company is looking to buy mailing list leads they need to do their homework and focus on companies that provide both consulting services and highly specialized metric analysis.  It is also imperative that the data be timely. 

Too many companies sell old information that is not worth the email it is attached to or the CD that it is stored on.

But possibly the most important aspect of working with these types of leads is to insure that the company buying the information has the technical means to work with the data and close deals or complete transactions with the opportunity they are purchasing.  If a company does not have this technical means to work with the data then just purchasing a cheap list is a waste of money.

A list is not needed, a full fledge consulting solution is required.  This will mean that shopping around list prices will be nothing more than a comparison of apples to oranges.  When consulting solutions are needed, the only way to garnish results is to test the service provider and grow into the relationship preferably in a way that generates results with the help of the consultants, but also trains the purchasing companies people in how to achieve the same results and data analysis and management expertise.