What is the Difference Between Consumer and Resident Occupant Lists?

If you are marketing to consumers, you have many decisions to make when putting together your direct marketing piece. One of them is whether to use a consumer list or a resident occupant list. If you are new to direct marketing, you may not even have realized there are different types of lists you can use. There are, and each one has benefits. The right type of list for you will depend on your goals for the campaign.

Consumer Mailing Lists

Consumer lists let you send your piece to specific people—the mailing will have an individual’s name on the label. Consumer lists use demographic and psychographic filters to reach your best prospects, including gender, age and date of birth, hobbies, education, marital status, and income. A consumer list is a good choice if:

  • You have a business that serves a particular audience. For example, a baby food company could target new parents or a craft store could target wood workers. With a consumer list, you can send your mailing to people who buy your niche products.
  • You want to use variable data printing to personalize your campaign. These lists provide a first name, which is the most popular personalization. You can also put other pieces of data into the piece (such as a birth day).

Because these lists are targeted to individuals, they cost more than occupant lists (both for the list and for the postage to mail the piece). When you choose consumer lists, make sure your list broker is updating them regularly—you don’t want to send a piece to an address where the person has moved.

Resident Occupant Lists

Resident occupant lists are those pieces of mail addressed to the “Current Resident.” You can select the addresses by zip code, specific mail delivery routes, or by radius. An occupant list is a good choice if:

  • You want to reach every household in a geographic area. For example, a new grocery store or restaurant would be of interest to most households, so there is little need to target the piece by demographic data.
  • You want to make sure your piece is delivered to every household. With an occupant list, your mailing won’t be returned if a resident has moved.

Resident occupant lists are automatically pre-sorted, which qualifies your mailing for the lowest possible postage rates. The lists themselves are also cost-effective.

Choosing Your Consumer and Resident Occupant List

To get a flavor of what kind of data you can get for either type of list, do a quick data sort at Alesco Leads. If you still aren’t sure which type of list is best for you, talk to an experienced list broker—they have the expertise to help guide you to find the list that will get you a maximum return.

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