Buying email lists doesn't just damage your deliverability and brand reputation -- it can also put your email account at risk. Email clients like Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook don't want to be associated with accounts that recipients repeatedly flag as spam. Email service providers like AWeber go as far as immediately closing your account if it suspects you're sending unwanted content. http://buildingastorybrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/email-marketing-banner.jpg
I like that you specifically mentioned art design and quality control. I get it, mail marketing design is hard sometimes, but nothing is going to make me less interested in your product than sloppy design. I won’t name names, but I get catalogs sent to my house by a major music retailer and those things are a NIGHTMARE to read. Product layouts that change from page to page, inconsistent use of pictures, it was just rough. I get not everyone has that Restoration Hardware/IKEA budget for catalogs (especially in an industry that doesn’t rely on them as much anymore, so maybe it’s not the fairest comparison) but a little more time and care will make me much more interested in whatever this year’s new Fender is.
Julie Ewald recommends moving away from sending generic content to your whole email list via e-blast entirely. With a little elbow grease, you can utilize segmentation and start sending off tailored messages to each of your lists with content that’s relevant, valuable, and designed to resonate with the kind of recipients that make up each segment.