I will never forget the time when I was planning an email marketing campaign during weak economic times. I needed to get the ok from the owner of my employer at the time to fork over $100K so I could send out an email campaign to what I believed were prospects with excellent profit potential.
Picture this. I am seated across from a zillionaire in his fancy NYC office with his feet up on his desk. He essentially is saying ‘show me the money’. I was so confident the campaign would be a success I offered to go 50/50 on the campaign with him. He thought for a moment and then said if the campaign bombs out, he’d feel bad for me. If it succeeded, he’d lose tremendous profits. He gave me the green light to proceed with the email campaign on his investment.
The data from the campaign was from a small number of rented lists with large list universes that had been profitable in the past. I did my homework and found the occupational codes, lists, and countries with the highest propensity to buy from my list history that dated back 15 years at the time. I gave the highest priority to recency. I tested on new occupational codes from other profitable lists from the past and promising new occupational codes. I had lots of good continuation lists. I selected over 150 unique keycodes based on the above. I rented email records defaulting to direct mail records on segments with a high ROI on direct mail in the past. I negotiated a volume discount of almost 80% off when you factor in I got net net (I didn’t pay for dupes between lists or against the housefile). I even talked the listowner into allowing me to do my own email blasts. On most rented lists, you normally need to do the blast through the listowner/manager.
Part of my negotiation was to rent the above lists for 3X use. This enabled me to do an initial email blast with tests than far outperformed proven long term controls. I rolled out the winner and did a reminder email based on the winner shortly thereafter which was very profitable. I proceeded with a final email which encompassed qualities of the winning test email and other qualities that were profitable for me in the past. I rolled out with additional quantities on test lists that were performing well. The end result was a $700K profit on a campaign that cost $100K to email and to a smaller extent mail.
What I learned from this experience is do your homework and follow your gut instinct if you have the experience. Finding a good list broker is like hitting gold. Keep campaign costs as low as possible to minimize risk. I have had other big successes since the above referenced campaigns in a variety of industries, even with startups.