INTEGRATED: All you need to know...List broking (in association with Royal Mail)

In the first of a new series on integrated techniques, Robert Dwek looks at the expansion of list broking

In the first of a new series on integrated techniques, Robert Dwek looks

at the expansion of list broking

The UK’s largest list-broking company, Dudley Jenkins, is now in its

silver jubilee year. When it began, list broking worked, roughly, as

follows: a company wanting to direct mail people who matched certain

criteria asked the broker to find them. The broker compiled a list from

a variety of sources.

Today, this ad hoc approach has gone. The number of lists of consumer

names and addresses has ballooned and the broker’s time is taken up

simply trying to keep track of them all.

Industry estimates suggest there are at any one time about 3,000-4,000

lists on the market. The exact number is hard to pin down because many

are being taken off the market and many others added.

Some of the big list owners include NDL, CMT and Consumer Surveys on the

consumer side, and Emap, VNU, Reed Elsevier, Yellow Pages, ICD, Dun and

Bradstreet and Market Locations on the business-to-business side.

Another big consumer list, based on the Electoral Register, is handled

by a number of companies.

Of course, you don’t have to use a list broker to get hold of a list.

There are reference books stuffed full of information on which lists do

what. But as a list user - the person renting the list - it makes

financial sense to use a broker because their services are free. Their

remuneration comes entirely from the list owner.

Lists are mostly charged at a rate of per thousand records. At one time,

list owners insisted on being paid on the total list. Now there is a

wide, if reluctant, acceptance that where two or more have been merged

or purged and duplications removed, the user does not pay for the

deleted names. Renting a list costs between pounds 70-pounds 110 per

thousand names for a consumer list and pounds 85-pounds 200 per thousand

names for a business list.

Traditionally, financial services companies have been big users of lists

but nowadays all manner of companies are looking to lists to supplement

their burgeoning customer databases. Charities began using lists in the

late 80s, while the 90s has seen a surge of interest from grocery

manufacturers keen to circumvent the supermarkets.

Profiling is the latest Big Thing to hit list broking: companies are

giving their own customer databases to the brokers in order to profile

them against a bigger list. This may help them find other criteria by

which they can target their customers. In this age of lifestyle

databases, age and sex is increasingly considered inadequate.

As mentioned, Dudley Jenkins is the biggest list broker, renting out up

to 100 million names a year. Other players include HLB, Mardev and

Direct Media. Unimarketing, less than a year old but with a client list

including the Economist, American Express and Marks and Spencer

Financial Services, is considered up and coming by industry observers.


Trade association. List brokers used to be represented by the BLBA, now

the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) guards their interests

Number of list brokers. About 20 full-time, many more offering list-

broking as part of other services. Often list owners and brokers share

the same ownership

Major industry deals. As of 1994, list owners NDL and CMT are both owned

by the Dutch publishing giant VNU

Advice on best practice. One of the most important considerations in

list selection is the list’s provenance. Always check how the list is

improved and kept up to date. And carry out a trial mailing to test the

effectiveness of the list