By Carolyn Heinze
In recent years, managers and brokers have been playing a larger role in catalogers' success.
List brokers and managers have been offering value-added consulting services to catalogers for several years. But as competition intensifies and catalogers' budgets continue to tighten, list firms have had to step up to the plate to give mailers more services than ever before.
Help for Smaller Catalogers
Take, for example, Garrett Wade Co. The seller of high-end woodworking tools and accessories signed on with Millard Group last fall, and its senior vice president, Pete Segal, notes that Millard offers a more hands-on approach than other services he's used before. "It's as much of a consultative role as it is in just the mechanics of supplying lists," he says. "The list business has changed quite a bit, and database companies like Abacus have come in. That is where a lot of companies, including ourselves, are getting the bulk of their prospecting names."
Prior to working with Millard, Garrett Wade's list management and brokerage was divided between two brokers. Segal concluded that while the list reps were performing well enough, there was more that could be done. "We needed to turn to someone who could act in a more complete consultative role and bring both parts of the equation to one firm," he recalls. With the same firm now handling the renting out of its housefile and the renting in of prospect files, "they can see both sides of the equation and act more effectively in helping us to build our list."
List pros' expanded resources are particularly appealing to small to mid-sized catalogers such as Garrett Wade, which aren't large enough to have this specialized help on staff, Segal notes. "List brokers, in principle, should have their fingers more on the pulse of what's going on in the marketplace than I could have as a relatively small mailer," he says. "We don't have a full department of people who are thinking about these issues all the time. That's where a well-rounded list service type of company can be leveraged to our advantage."