Welcome to Part 3 of the “Mailing List Mistakes to Avoid” blog series. This series will be a lineup of major mistakes people make when buying a mailing list and how to avoid them. Make sure to read Part 1: Introduction to Investing in a List and Part 2: Research List Providers.

In last week’s blog post, we went over the importance of doing your due diligence when looking to purchase a mailing list – doing your research. Unfortunately, there are more misleading, dirty, and old lists out there than clean, up-to-date and reliable ones. That’s why it is very important to research different mailing list providers before investing your time, money, and business into it. If you missed these steps, you can read them here. Now, the next step to understanding the process of buying a mailing list is to be aware of the two primary types of businesses that sell lists: compilers and brokers. Knowing the difference between the two will take you a long way.

Compilers vs. Brokers

Data compilers have the direct resources to gather, combine, amalgamate and build mailing lists from scratch. Brokers are generally resellers of this information who may not have the same capabilities to update, refresh, and compare datasets the way you wish they could. Here are a couple of key differences between compilers and brokers.


  • Freshness – Most compilers have daily feeds coming in from various sources. This allows for up-to-the-second updates and access to information that could not hold value otherwise.
  • Depth – The depth of selection criteria can be used to build countless predictive models to help identify who your target audience really is. Some compilers such as US Data Corporation have over 800 different fields of information that can be selected.
  • Hygiene – Great hygiene can do a number of things to improve your situation. It can score you a date with your love interest, make people not afraid to sit near you in public, and make sure that your marketing dollars are not going to waste. Imagine spending $10,000 on postage to send 35,000 letters to potential prospects, only to find out that 40% of your mail was returned. Now, add that $4,000 to your list cost because that’s what happens when you cut corners on hygiene with your lists.
  • Custom Tailoring – Data compilers often have much more resources to gather data from, allowing for unlimited combinations of various databases to fit your target audience.


  • Lower entry cost – Most compilers will require minimum orders ranging from 3,000 – 10,000 records which can seem like Mt. Everest if you only wanted to test out a few hundred records on the hill in your backyard.  Brokers typically allow data to be purchased in smaller quantities with little or no minimums. They’ve already purchased the data for the year so to them there’s no difference in selling 1 record or 1,000. It’s all the same.
  • Less Depth – Some people like to understand the inner workings of what makes a clock tick, some people just want to know the time, and other people don’t like to have options.
  • Prefab Fitting – Perhaps you don’t need the mission critical custom built solution. A plug and play product will do the job.

Be open about your budget and what you are looking to accomplish, a good rep can often come up with creative ways to work within your budget and still maximize your results. If you have more questions about mailing lists, please call US Data Corporation at (888) 578-3282.


Make sure to read other parts of the series: Part 1: Introduction to Investing in a ListPart 2: Research List ProvidersPart 3: Compilers vs. BrokersPart 4: Understanding Your Data, Part 5: Find a Trustworthy List Provider, Part 6: Be Open to List Suggestions.