Working the List: Case Study in Target Marketing Magazine

By | January 15, 2013

RedTieLogoI have just finished reading a very interesting case study in the December 2012 issue of Target Marketing magazine.

It’s for Red Tie Insurance Services, which revealed how it works all the angles to squeeze every drop out its rented lists. Although the company relies on cold calling as its initial point of contact, its approach would work for print and mail, as well.

Here is the nutshell:

1. Once or twice a month, Red Tie purchases a homeowners list based on ZIP Code radius.

2. It imports the list into its CRM system to glean all the phone numbers, address, and names associated with those homeowners.

3. It cold calls all homeowners on the list. For those it cannot contact by phone, it contacts by email if available.

4. Using its CRM system, Red Tie finds Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts for the leads it cannot contact by phone or email and invites them to connect through the company’s Facebook page.

Red Tie has a 22% conversion rate among prospects with whom it speaks, and outside lists comprise 65% of its marketing mix. I have a call in to the owner, Reginald Hawkins, to find out what percentage of those email contacts and social media invitations convert to actual phone calls. As soon as I hear back, I’ll update this post.

[Update: Hawkins indicates that his email contacts generate about a 3% conversion-to-phone call rate. Social media is marginal, but it’s just an important “catch all.” You never know what leads it will generate.]

For clients who serve business and professional services providers who target homeowners, renters, new movers, and similar audiences, a  similar approach could be used with print, as well. Instead of cold calling, use personalized print as the first contact.  If possible, prime the pump with personalized email or use email to follow up (“Did you receive our postcard?”). Connect with nonrespondents using social media. It’s a simple repeatable approach that has paid off for this marketer.

As a side note, if you go to Red Tie’s Facebook page, it’s interesting that they have a huge QR Code in the upper righthand corner that says, “Scan Me!” The code takes you to a mobile version of its site. We might say, “Why would someone scan a QR Code to go to the mobile site when they are sitting at a computer right then and there?” The answer is, I don’t know, but what I know is that people do it — all the time.

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7 thoughts on “Working the List: Case Study in Target Marketing Magazine

  1. Scott Tilden

    Yeah. Pernicious spam characterized by multiple contacts by multiple media. And, by the way, unless the list was “purchased” rather than “rented” — not all lists can be — you’d be in violation of the rental agreement as well.

  2. Joe Manos

    Heidi nice post. As far as the list comments it depends on the situation and the use case. Yes spam is any bulk emailing to prospects in mass, BUT if you have an unsubscribe link you can make the case that (A) they have to open the email (willingly) before they realize it may or may not be something they are interested in and (B) they now have an opportunity to “Opt Out” from any future mailings from this company.

    Many of the list providers will require that they send the emails rather than using your own solution to send them but they key is how you execute the delivery, the Opt Out Link and respecting the recipients wishes whatever they may be.

  3. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    I can only assume that since this case study was published in Target Marketing magazine, the list was used appropriately and that Red Tie was not spamming.

  4. Sam Iamson

    Red Tie not spamming is like saying that Red Tie is a well ran company.
    They spam into LinkedIn forums, and they spam on behalf of clients.
    They ousted their founder and creator Marian Stefani after a hostile takeover.
    They underwhelm with their unfinished software, bogus press releases and QR Faux Pas.

    I wonder how they would defend their 22% conversion rate… 78% call them to stop spamming?

  5. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    We all know that multi-channel marketing that includes email, mobile, and social media alongside print is more effective than print alone. We also know that print campaigns with email “primers” or follow-ups are more effective than print campaigns alone. Integration of social media is a must in today’s world. So whether Red Tie is spamming or not, as Joe Manos pointed out, email contacts are permissible if they are handled correctly. So I would encourage readers to critique the list use model offered here, not the company specifically.

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