The Challenge of Building a Global Marketing List

Despite our ongoing fascination with social media, the concept of a marketing “house” list is one that continues going strong. (Though it might be worth discussing the ongoing utility of these lists later.) But in the B2B Marketing world, having a list that marketing “nurtures” over time while the prospect moves through the research phase, turning over to sales when they are ready to purchase remains accepted strategy.  This assumes of course that you have good metrics in place on how long this takes to convert to pipeline, general conversion percentages, etc.

The ideal size of the list also ranges widely. I have seen B2B lists well over 100,000 names, and I had the misfortune when I started to be handed a list of 3000 or so names, but only 32 email with addresses! Since so much is focused on how to scale a list up, or how to clean up your list, starting from scratch is much more difficult.  Given email success ratios, renting a list to gain names isn’t as useful as it once was so we are doing more to pair raw list purchases with telemarketing to verify and qualify before adding them to the house list.  This works well enough if you have access to a low cost inside telesales team (which we have) or are already engaged with a meeting setting firm who can help drive meetings while cleaning the list at the same time.

And what of Europe? With significantly different privacy laws in each country, and highly variable levels of experience with email marketing country by country, this presents an even greater challenge. We have taken a country by country approach so far to assess the state of the existing lists and matching with the expected plans for each country.   The good news is that scale is gauged in the low thousands, rather than the 100s of thousands.

No matter, from scratch is a hard slog.

For us, the key remains segmentation.  Much rather identify the companies and roles we want to target and expand the list from there. While it will be slightly more expensive in the long run, and the growth will be only a few hundred at a time, we will wind up with a much more qualified list. Since we are offering such a highly specialized service, lower volume is ok, so long as they are of high quality.

Potentially interesting links related to list building:




Marketing Sherpa: How to use Social Media and Email for Prospecting: 8 Essentials


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