December 5, 2018

The Business Challenge

O’Brien’s client approached him with a unique situation: How to successfully market a home for auction during a housing downturn. Although the house, located in Beaufort County, NC, was desirable waterfront property ‐ times were tight. The average time on market was 249 days. It was the middle of a recession. And, like the rest of the nation, housing prices were way off ‐ in nearby Pitt County, they had fallen nearly 25 percent.

The client’s initial plan was to obtain Beaufort County property tax records and send out a mass mailing.

“He wanted to mail to everybody,” said O’Brien.

At the same time, targeting the right prospect was crucial. An auction for luxury waterfront property needed to attract a very specific segment to be successful. “He was worried about getting the right people to show up and bid on the property,” said O’Brien.

Experience told O’Brien that there was a better way to target nearby luxury home buyers. “A general property tax list wouldn’t pinpoint the exact type of buyer he wanted.” After telling his client, “I don’t think I would do that,” O’Brien suggested a different approach ‐ a targeted mailing list from USADATA.

The Solution

Instead of a scattershot approach based on property tax records, targeted mailing lists allow companies to choose the exact demographic characteristics they want their mailer to reach. In this case, O’Brien recommended that his client target high-income individuals in nearby Pitt County, rather than people already living in Beaufort County. Additionally, O’Brien suggested that they filter out people who already owned a second home, figuring that they wouldn’t be in the market to purchase another one.

They started the process by using USADATA’s online QuickPick targeting. QuickPick targeting allows customers to select a pre‐defined segment representing their best prospects in just one click. For additional mailing list assistance, they contacted a USADATA Data Specialist. The Specialist worked with O’Brien to further refine the mailing list and develop the count and price quote.

“It’s important to work with a mailing list company who will spend the time to help you make smarter choices,” said O’Brien. “It’s a much more personalized way of doing business.” Together, with USADATA’s help, they created a highly targeted mailing list that targeted professionals earning more than $150,000 a year in neighboring Pitt County. Selection criteria included:

  • Zip code area
  • Age
  • Net Worth
  • Interest in real estate investing


The auction was an unprecedented success: The house sold for more than $100,000 more than the owners expected. O’Brien was surprised at the auction price, but, then again he’s seen how successful mailing lists from USADATA have been for his clients.

Jon Rapkin, Senior Vice‐President of Sales for USADATA, is pleased with the campaign’s success. “This case study shows the power of a targeted mailing list,” said Rapkin. “This home auction’s success was helped by reaching the right people at the right time.”

Today, the client is thrilled with his results. He was so pleased with the success from his first mailing that he’s strategizing a new direct mail campaign with AccuLink ‐ and planning to work with USADATA for their mailing list expertise.

“They are a great group of people,” says O’Brien. “They give a darn about your success.”

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