By Larry Riggs
This week's question: How are brokers coping with fewer new lists regularly coming into the market?
Our current panel features Geoff Batrouney of Estee Marketing Services Inc., Joe Borelli of Borelli Direct Marketing Inc., Greg Branstetter of Hippo Direct, Mary Ann Buoncristiano of American List Counsel, and Kevin Rusciolelli of Infocus Marketing. (Would you like to be considered to be a member of our roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Geoff Batrouney, executive vice president, Estee Marketing Services Inc.:
Is this anecdotal or a hard fact? There are hundreds of new lists being introduced to the market every month and brokers are doing what they always have done—we do our research, and seek the best quality lists that match our clients' target audience and offers. Perhaps we have to work harder and smarter than 10 years ago, but just as there might be fewer lists coming to market, there are fewer brokers chasing them.
Joe Borellli, president/CEO, Borelli Direct Marketing Inc.:
It certainly makes it harder to find test recommendations! We've coped by digging deeper into list selections, testing expires, modeling, etc. Since mail volumes are also down, we've been testing less and riding our winners longer than in the past. That said, the challenge isn't "fewer new lists", it's "fewer qualified lists." Every day I receive e-mails from the two data card services showing many, many new files to the market. The problem is that most have very vague sources, or are Internet or modeled hybrids. It is very easy today for an unskilled broker to order the same list (under different names) from multiple vendors. Unless the U.S. Postal Service makes mailing more economical, there are going to be fewer new direct mail and publishing companies that would ultimately create new, qualified lists.
Greg Branstetter, president, Hippo Direct:
We've found new ways to assist clients with their e-mail marketing and online marketing programs. This means offering new services such as e-mail list appends, e-mail list hygiene, education/training, strategic planning and consulting. We've also become experts at e-mail list management for clients, including database creation so that clients can send targeted, frequent e-mails to their own lists. This would create a new source of list rental revenue from their e-mail addresses. In addition, we help clients tighten postal list mail plans with more frequent mailings to their best-performing lists. Many clients are doing more testing of compiled lists to find those which can work profitably on a one-year unlimited use basis. Our clients have also had great success with lists of highly-targeted association members.
Mary Ann Buoncristiano, executive vice president, American List Counsel:
They could see it as a hurdle. However, I believe we are living in a time when the abundance of data has never been greater. This is coupled with the evolution of technology that allows us to integrate multiple data sources—demographic, lifestyle and transactional—and offer our clients a methodology for targeting and segmenting and delivering relevant offers to prospective buyers.
Kevin Rusciolelli, senior consultant, Infocus Marketing:
They are coping through more aggressive upselling of current lists directly to brokers by offering discounts and specials.
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