B2B Direct Marketing – Importance of the House File


Share on LinkedIn

What’s the not-so-secret but often neglected success factor in B2B direct marketing?  Simply this: your in-house prospect list (house file) can be your most important asset in a successful direct marketing operation. And this is equally true whether you are communicating with prospects at their email addresses, physical addresses or telephone numbers.  A house file can vastly decrease your cost of lead and new customer acquisition and if you have been sharing the right type of information with your  B2B database, you can achieve better close rates and shortened sales cycles.   

Marketing Sherpa’s 2010 B2B Benchmarket Report illustrates how much stronger a house file can be when compared with external lists. In the survey, 29 percent of B2B marketers rated their email campaigns to their house file to be “very effective” compared to only 4 percent who said the same about their emails to external lists, a ratio of 7 to 1 in favor of the interal database.  This is not to say that external list sources are always bad (although the truth is that some are indeed very bad!).  You may need external list sources in order to find fresh responders to build your database.  But remember that the promise of list quality is usually greater than the reality of what you receive.  I’ ve witnessed many companies spend a great deal of money on ineffective and inaccurate postal, email or telephone calling lists. 

For example, I recently saw my name on a list of B2B software marketing executives, at a title and company I left nine years ago. Unfortunately, this company was paying 10 to 50 cents for the pleasure of sending me a promotion that had no chance of arriving, let alone generating a response.  Multiply that 10-50 cents by hundreds or thousands of inaccurate contacts and you are talking about wasting a serious amount of marketing dollars.  There are ways to select external lists that are cleaner and more productive, but it is rare to see even the best external list outperform a halfway decent internal B2B database.

The closest a B2B direct marketing practitioner can come to nirvana is to build a large house file of individuals who have at least some interest in their products and services, and who have opted-in to give the marketer permission to communicate with them on a regular basis.  It takes a lot of work to build and maintain a strong b2b house file, but once you have done this, you will have a goldmine of low-cost leads and sales.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Ryan
Christopher Ryan is CEO of Fusion Marketing Partners, a B2B marketing consulting firm and interim/fractional CMO. He blogs at Great B2B Marketing and you can follow him at Google+. Chris has 25 years of marketing, technology, and senior management experience. As a marketing executive and services provider, Chris has created and executed numerous programs that build market awareness, drive lead generation and increase revenue.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here