Automotive Mailing Lists: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Do Hedges & Company's direct marketing mailing lists comply with the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)?
A: Yes. All of our mailing lists comply with Federal privacy laws that protect drivers. Our auto mailing lists are compiled from multiple sources and it's important to note none of our records come from any state DMV records.
Q: What is the source of your automotive mailing lists?
A: We use multiple data sources. Our mailing lists are a result of building databases and creating strategic alliances with the mailing list industry's most accurate data providers. We use a masterfile of 170 million U.S. consumers including car, truck, motorcycle and even RV owners. We can drill down to consumers with a buying history of aftermarket performance parts and accessories with DIY behavior.
*NOTE: Watch statistics you get from any list provider carefully and ask questions. We have seen lists marketed that cover "150 million" US households or more. The 2010 Census counted 114,235,996 households, so any higher number is suspicious. Likewise, we've seen consumer lists marketed that cover "300 million US consumers." The official US population for 2010 was just over 308 million, so any list source that claims to have a higher number is inaccurate or includes millions of children. (The 2010 Census shows that out of 308 million people in the United States, 6.5% are under the age of 5 and 24% are under the age of 18, which means in the US there are about 235 million 19 and older.)
Q: Are your mailing lists current? Are they accurate?
A: Yes. All of our mailing lists are run through the National Change of Address (NCOA) file from the US Post Office, creating the most up to date and accurate data possible. We re-process lists through NCOA in-house before delivery. This process also lets you qualify for all applicable postal discounts. Our list data is updated every Monday, giving you the most accurate data each week. The masterfile only uses records that are confirmed by at least two sources and can be confirmed by a third source within 12 months. About 275,000 new automotive records are added each month. Also, we're a National Change of Address service provider offering 18-month Change of Address (COA) updates and we process files and match them to the United States Postal Service 48-month Change of Address file. There are approximately 160 million permanent Change of Address records on file with the USPS.
Q: Do your lists come from state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs)?
A: No. All of our list data is from legal, accurate, alternative sources including finance companies, insurance companies, automobile dealerships, some automotive service chains and national OEM ownership clubs. We require that any vehicle owner record is validated as coming from a minimum of two sources before we consider it to be a viable record available to use. Note that only a handful of states actually sell their registration data, and even then the Shelby Amendment requires states to allow drivers to opt out of this data, so states that sell data are not selling complete data in the first place.
Q: What is the Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) and the Shelby amendment?
A: The DPPA was enacted by Congress in 1994, as an amendment to 103 H.R. 3355, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, and is Public Law No. 103-322 codified and amended by Public Law 106-69. It can be found within Title XXX, Section 300001. The DPPA aims to protect the privacy of personal information of drivers that is put together by the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DPPA was amended on June 1, 2000, with the Shelby Amendment, which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "The Shelby Act." The Shelby Amendment requires states to obtain a driver's consent before giving out any personal information whether for an individual or in bulk. The DPPA allows the following information to be used as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2721:
• Legitimate business needs in transactions started by the individual to verify accuracy of personal information.
• Legitimate government agency needs.
• Use in connection with a civil, criminal or administrative proceeding.
• Use in matters of motor vehicle safety, theft, emissions, product recalls.
• Motor vehicle market research and surveys.
• Research activities and statistical reports, as long as personal information isn't disclosed or used to contact individuals.
• Insurance activities.
• Notifications for towed or impounded vehicles.
• Use by licensed investigators or security services or used by private toll transportation facilities.
• A response to requests for individual records if the state has obtained express consent from the individual.
• For direct marketing distribution if the state has obtained express consent from the individual.
• Use by any requester where the requester can show written consent of the individual.
• For any other legitimate state use as it relates to motor vehicle safety or public safety.
Q: How are your automotive mailing lists different from other mailing lists?
A: Our automotive mailing lists were created specifically for the automotive aftermarket industry. We understand consumers and have an affinity for the automotive industry. In other words we know how to reach the customers you need to meet your goals. In the past two years alone we have rented 7 million records of automotive owners, and our customers do a lot of repeat business with us. Our mailing lists have been tested side-by-side with lists from other providers, and we have won more business from more deliverable addresses and higher response rates.
To be more specific, we use data from primary sources such as auto dealerships, warranty companies, online insurance quotations, major national OEM car clubs, automotive service chains and insurance companies. By using so many sources, we have a wide reach. Not only can we obtain more data, but multiple data sources ensure overall accuracy.
Besides all of that, we really understand cars, trucks, and the automotive aftermarket better than most. If you need a mailing list of fifth generation Mustang owners, we know that means 2005-2013. If you need a mailing list of Jeep TJ owners, we know that means 1997-2006 Jeep Wrangler.
Q: Are you able to remove duplicate records that exist in our customer file?
A: Yes, for an additional charge we can make sure that your list does not contain any customers already on file. We can dedupe at the street address level. If confidentiality of your existing records is a concern and you want maximum suppression of records by street address and by name, we accept MD5 hash encrypted files to protect your records. When you send us an encrypted file, we will only be able to see if our records match any of your records, we can then exclude a matched record from the file we send you. We will also gladly sign a confidentiality agreement at your request.
In addition, if you come back for additional lists in the future like many of our clients do, we can suppress new records against your previous lists.
Q: How do your mailing lists differ from modeled or predictor lists?
A: Our automotive mailing lists are compiled from sources that indicate ownership of an actual vehicle, whereas modeled and predictor lists use consumer data variables and statistical modeling to make an educated guess at what is in the consumer's garage. Predictor or modeled mailing lists may work for some direct mailers but for our clients we wouldn't recommend using these lists to market performance parts and accessories of specific makes and models. We recommend lists where the ownership of the vehicle has been confirmed, through several sources, giving you assurance that you are reaching the right consumer.
Q:Whatever happened to Polk mailing lists? What about DMV mailing lists?
A: RL Polk was synonymous many years ago for automotive mailing lists. Sometimes people refered to these lists as "DMV mailing lists." Polk is still around under a different name. In July 2013, IHS acquired R. L. Polk & Co., including Polk and CARFAX. This division now operates as IHS Automotive, Driven by Polk, and as IHS Markit. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s Polk mailing lists were a popular way to reach car owners by direct mail. The DPPA and Shelby Amendment mentioned above changed that and now we feel the best way to build mailing list data for vehicle owners is to use the proceess we rely on: build it from multiple, verifiable sources. We get questions about Polk mailing lists all the time and many times people don't realize vehicle owner mailing lists are still available. We should note that Polk, CARFAX® and IHS Markit™ are service marks of IHS Markit, a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker "INFO" and have no relation to Hedges & Company.
Today, InfoGROUP™ operates a website mailing list business and website called Polk City Directories® and that website includes a section on Automobile Data, claiming current data on "...more than 100 million automobile owners." We should note that these service marks are property of InfoGROUP, no relation to Hedges & Company.
Contact Hedges & Company today for more information.