Resurrecting The List Rental Industry

With an average tenure of 22.9 months, today’s CMO is one position that struggles to stay employed consistently. The problem lies largely in CMOs’ inability to prove immediate results on marketing spend: In order to keep their job, CMOs must establish that every campaign executed has been effective. It’s a daunting task, to be sure, especially employing today’s languishing list rental process. But list rentals don’t have to be ineffective. In fact, with a little rethinking, list rentals can produce the results CMOs need to hang on to their jobs.

It’s no secret that the list rental industry has fallen out of favor with marketers. It has failed to meet the latest results, speed and accuracy demands of the industry. Until these issues are resolved, CMOs will continue to shift their marketing dollars to approaches they can at least measure, like SEM, SEO and display advertising.



But it’s premature to count the list rental industry and process out. In fact, strong data exists to show that renting lists for an e-mail marketing campaign is still one of the most effective lead-generation tactics available. It just needs a few tweaks to make it viable and preferred. Besides, the list rental industry competitors, such as SEM and SEO, have their own deficiencies to contend with.

For example, although the draw to SEO has partly been its cost — or rather, the lack thereof — the conversion rate tends to be lower than SEM. Another low-cost alternative — at least in the short run — is list purchasing. However, these lists often have so much inaccurate data that marketers end up wasting precious time qualifying the leads.

SEM is a costlier endeavor. Setting up an SEM campaign usually costs more initially, and broad keywords and phrases are pricey. One blog places keyword prices at $1.50 apiece, and the general consensus is that it's becoming increasingly more expensive to buy quality keywords.

Alternately, campaigns using rented lists are often superior to SEM because they present an active form of marketing that attracts customers to the buying cycle earlier than SEM. This tactic also enables marketers to control their brand and message better than SEM because they can brand the entire experience.

In reality, the list rental industry and process are truly fundamentally sound. By supplying marketers with the proper tools to find the right lists, optimize their campaigns and show results, list rentals have the potential to be the most cost-effective and proof-oriented tactic available — just the tool CMOs need to prolong their job tenure.

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