If you ask a marketer or a salesperson what is the difference between a bad campaign and a good campaign, they will tell you it is all in the list. It seems that marketers have been buying lists for generations. Through a never-ending supply of list brokers and service bureaus, you can buy names for virtually every household in the country. And to varying degrees, you can buy demographics and other information about people, such as their ethnicity, if they enjoy science magazines or if they are cost conscious.

It seems that years ago, being able to provide lists was magic in itself. After a while, you could request certain customer segments and have lists tailored to the types of customers you thought would work best for you. This way you could get even better lists. Some organizations such as D&B and InfoUSA differentiated themselves by selling information about businesses. This information is extremely helpful when trying to understand the relationship between a company and its subsidiaries, sites and departments. But what does the list industry look like today? Is this a commodity service or still something of value?

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