A Day with a Pro: List Broker
Competitive, Aggressive, Pressure-Cooker, Intense
Editor’s Note: Starting with the following profile, each month Catalog Success will spend “a day with a pro,” delving into the daily ins and outs of the workings of a particular segment of the catalog industry.
With a phone firmly plastered to his ear, Stephen Bogner haggles with everyone and anyone to get his clients the best lists possible.
Bogner, like list brokers everywhere, is a fast-talker with a personality, and he says that is what rules the list brokering industry.
“It is a business of personalities,” Bogner says and follows an adage of the late Mal Dunn, founder of Mal Dunn Associates. “If the guy [client] likes you, he’ll give you the business; if not, he won’t.”
With 25 years of list brokering experience and 13 years as president of NRL Direct in Cresskill, NJ, Bogner offers much insight into the roles of a list broker.
A list broker primarily locates, recommends, tests and evaluates lists for clients. If this sounds mundane, think again.
Consider this scenario: A young catalog client of Bogner’s is cut off from exchanging lists with an established cataloger of the same genre.
The established cataloger refuses to continue exchanging its list to the start-up, claiming it is a direct competitor. The underlying factor is that the list broker of the established cataloger previously worked in its marketing department and felt threatened by the young catalog.
The solution: Bogner and his staff spent several days taking each catalog apart. A product-for-product comparison was made, revealing that just 16 percent of the products overlapped. Of the comparable products, one catalog was lower-priced than the other on 27 items and the other was lower on 28. They were priced the same on 10 of the overlaps.
Within a week 150,000 names were exchanged between the companies.