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How To Order A Postal List
Because direct marketing postal lists offer a wide range of fulfillment choices and each order is custom-produced to your specifications, you must take special care that the options you choose are correct.
Once your order is executed, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to make changes without incurring delays or additional charges.
Before you order, talk to your printer, designer, lettershop, mailing house or computer service bureau. Discuss the various options described in the GreatLists.com list data and below. Make sure they - and you - understand the importance of getting it right the first time. Getting it wrong can be costly.
Almost all lists offer geographic, job function, industry, recency or other segments which may be selected or excluded from your order. Segment selection allows you to target portions of a list with considerable precision. It enables you to make fewer contacts, but generate the same, or even higher, response as using the entire list.
See the Segment Data portion of the list data for detailed descriptions, quantities and costs. Note that you incur an additional charge for one or more selections of the same kind of segment.
Selections include, but are not limited to:
Geographic selections: For USA lists, you may select one or more states, SCF codes (i.e. the first three digits of each Zip Code) or Zip Codes. For international lists, you may select one or more individual countries.
Job function selections: If available, you may select one or more job functions.
Industry selections: If available, you may select one or more industries.
Combination selections: You may specify a mix of geographic, job function, industry or any other selections available for a given list. Normally, such selections are crossed, meaning they are combined so as to produce only those records that meet every selection criterion. For example, a selection consisting of senior managers (job function) in banking (industry) in the state of New York (geographic) in businesses with 50+ employees (employee size) will result in the selection of only those records found in all four segments. Records in one, two or three of the four specified segments will not be selected. Combination selections incur a separate charge for each different kind of segment, if a charge applies.
Random sample selection,: Most lists with 5,000 or more total records offer a special kind of selection called a random sample. A random sample selection produces a specified quantity of records by taking a random or Nth sample (Nth referring to the mathematical variable used to select the necessary quantity) across the entire file or some specified segment. A random sample can be combined with any other available selection, as in select a random sample for 5,000 senior managers.
A random sample is a useful way to test a list. Be sure to ask that the random sample be saved, so it can be included or excluded from subsequent orders for the same list.
The order quantity is usually determined by both the total quantity of names available on the list or its segment(s), and your budget and strategy. It is also determined by the list supplier's minimum order requirement. If the quantity you wish to order is less than the supplier's minimum order size, you will normally be charged as though you had taken the minimum order. Check the Minimum Order section of the list data for details.
Most lists can be delivered in a variety of media, the choice of which can have significant impact on your ability and costs to process the list for actual use. See the Fulfillment Options section of the list data for availability and costs. The most common options are:
E-mail delivery: Addressing data is supplied in ASCII-CSV code as an e-mail attachment. It can be easily imported into an application program and processed for output to for all kinds of marketing operations. Lists supplied via e-mail can easily be de-duplicated against other lists, if you have the necessary application program. E-mail delivery is fast, convenient and low-cost, but not yet available from all list suppliers. Check the list data for availability.
Diskette: Addressing data is encoded on a 3.5" IBM PC-compatible diskette in ASCII-CSV (comma separated variable) code. Can be easily imported into an application program (i.e. word processor, database or spreadsheet), further processed and output to mailing labels, directly to your mailing piece or to other media for telemarketing or fax broadcast. Lists supplied on diskette can easily be de-duplicated against other lists, if you have the necessary application program. Diskettes are a convenient and cost-effective medium for list orders up to about 20,000 records. Even larger orders can be conveyed in compressed format.
Magnetic tape: Addressing data is encoded on a reel of magnetic tape in either EBCDIC (an IBM mainframe standard) or ASCII code. Requires a magnetic tape reader to read and output the addressing data, either to mailing labels or directly onto your mailing piece. Lists supplied on magnetic tape can easily be de-duplicated against other lists. Magnetic tape is a convenient and cost-effective medium for large list orders (10,000+ records).
Cheshire labels: Addressing data is printed in 4 columns on plain white, continuous-form, wide-carriage paper. Cheshire labels are applied to your mailing piece by a special machine, called a cheshire machine. List orders on cheshire labels are almost always delivered in either Zip Code order for USA lists or country name order for international lists. Cheshire labels cannot be applied by hand, nor can they be de-duplicated against other lists. They are generally the least costly medium to produce and process.
Pressure-sensitive (P/S or self-adhesive) labels: Addressing data is printed in 4 columns on continuous-form, wide-carriage, waxed carrier stock. P/S labels can be applied by hand, though doing so in large quantities can be costly and time-consuming. Once printed, they cannot be efficiently de-duplicated against other lists. Because the waxed carrier stock is heavy and costly, they are expensive to produce and ship.
Most list owners require that a complete sample of the mailing piece or telemarketing script to be used with their list be submitted with your order for review and approval. This enables them to screen out inappropriate, objectionable or competitive offers. This is a firm requirement and almost never waived. Usually the list owner wishes only to review the text of the marketing message, so a typescript is generally adequate. Be sure to include the text of all message elements — order form, sales letter, brochure, envelope or telemarketing script, etc. The sample copy may be faxed or e-mailed.
Where do you want the list delivered? The two most common options are to your office (check Restrictions in the list data to make sure the list supplier will ship to you) or to your printer, lettershop, mail house or computer service bureau. Be sure to provide all details, including a complete street address (not a post office box), the name of a contact at that location who knows the order is coming, and telephone and fax numbers. If the list is to be delivered via e-mail (check Media Options to be sure it can be), provide an e-mail address, along with the street address.
On what date do you want the list delivered? And on what date do you want to actually enter your mailing at the post office or otherwise launch your marketing effort?
Most USA list suppliers require 1 to 5 working days to approve, produce and ship an order. Overseas suppliers often take up to 10 or more working days. And your service bureau or lettershop may need up to 10 more working days to process your marketing materials, depending on your requirements, their capabilities and production schedules.
Some suppliers work faster than others; see the Delivery section of the list data for specific capabilities. In any case, be sure to allow enough time for all suppliers to do their job properly.
Given the amount and importance of order detail, it is in your self-interest to convey a list order to us in a letter, memo, purchase order or even handwritten note, rather than verbally. You may send your instructions — and sample mailing piece — to us by either fax or e-mail. No special form is needed; just be sure to cover each option described above.
After recording your list order, we will send you an order acknowledgment. You should review it carefully and return a copy of it to us signifying your agreement to it specifications, conditions and terms. Your order acknowledgment is the last, best point in the list order process to make changes without incurring additional charges or delivery delays. Review it carefully.
Some list suppliers require a list use agreement — a contract specifying the precise terms and conditions applying to your use of their property. We will send you such agreements for your execution, if and as they are required during the processing of your order.
Your representative will settle payment terms with you when you place your order. Payment for list orders is accepted by check, Visa, American Express or MasterCard.