“Off-White” Paper #16 – Post-Election Manager Migration – and Your Mailing List Sources

There is a certain amount of managerial (and other) migration every year in the Federal government. For career managers to get ahead, they often have to change offices within their department or agency, or move to another agency to make a step increase. This movement occurs with over 10% of Federal managers each year. This is the public employee equivalent of private sector job-hopping. After every presidential election, there is a serious spike in this movement. Amtower & Company has tracked this migration since the late 1980s, and we have seen the post-election migration (the calendar year following the election) approach 50% among the senior IT managers in the Federal government. Much of the migration is in the Washington, DC area, the result of the vast majority of SES members and presidential appointees being posted in DC. There are many reasons for this. Among them are moving to where the money is (exposure), moving to where the money isn’t (anonymity), your boss moved and wants you there, and on and on. Again, very similar to the private sector. There is also migration due to new presidential appointees (several thousand of them), where all of a sudden you find yourself stuck with a boss who has no real clue of what your department does, and maybe couldn’t care less. There are three points to be made here: If your business requires keeping in touch with senior managers in government, the coming year is going to require extra attention by those responsible for keeping the data current; If you use an outside source for this data, make certain you get at least three updates for 2001; Be certain the data you collect (or purchase) is accurate and complete – complete address (including any necessary mail codes), phone, fax and email (use the email after you get them to opt-in for information). Ultimately, your in-house database should be your best source. There are several sources for this data, including the Amtower & Company Senior Executive file (which includes all career SES members, and senior human resource, IT, and financial managers). There are other sources, especially government telephone directories (published by both the government and the private sector) and generic compilations, like Dun & Bradstreet. Keep in mind the telephone directories published by the government are often outdated by the time they are printed, although the address information in them is often excellent. The directories from private publishers are updated more frequently, but often lack many of the routing codes necessary to make a good mailing lists. The generic compilers (like Dun & Bradstreet) rarely, if ever, have the knowledge of what the government requires as far as actual mailing addresses are concerned, and consequently their lists contain few (if any) of the internal routing codes required by government mail rooms. The quality of the data you use is critical to your success. Amtower & Company has advised hundreds (probably thousands) of companies since 1985 on the best list sources for their niche in the government market. Sometimes these might be our lists, many they are not. We provide excellent data, but it doesn’t suit everyone’s needs. What we attempt to do in our relationships with clients is to make certain that the end result is that their in-house list is the best list for them. This does not mean that their list won’t be supplemented along the way with outside lists, but that their core audience is in their house database, and it is being updated regularly. Just about everyone is government migrates from time to time, and it is important that you either manage your data to accommodate this or make certain that whoever you rent or purchase data from does a good job. Mailing a great offer to a bad list never works. Copyright 2000, Amtower & Company