List Rentals: What’s Negotiable? What’s Not?
Anything is negotiable when it comes to list rentals, according to list professionals such as Karen Mayhew, vice president, consumer list management, at Direct Media. “Today, there’s not really anything that’s out of the question,” she explains.
Mayhew’s colleague on the list brokerage side at Direct Media, Linda Huntoon, executive vice president, agrees. “If you can think of something that will help a mailer use a file and can explain it to the manager and [list] owner, you can probably test it.”
Other list professionals also see an upswing in list negotiations. Dennis Bissig, group vice president/brokerage, Mokrynski & Associates, says: “There are a few exceptions, but overall, more owners are dealing these days, and more so than they would have even a few months ago.”
The reason: simple economics. As a list manager wanting to rent a catalog client’s list to other mailers, Mayhew says, “We need that mailer to succeed. And to cost effectively mail many prospect lists in today’s competitive market, catalogers must have certain concessions made.”
However, list brokers and managers caution that catalogers should not look to negotiation as merely a cost-saving strategy. “The process of negotiating list cost is, and should be, based purely on the performance of the list in question, not as part of a generic cost-saving campaign waged by the broker,” says Andy Ostroy, chairman and CEO, ALC of New York LLC. Two areas in which list-rental negotiations are taking place more than before include pricing and promotion.
When it comes to list-pricing negotiations, Huntoon says, “The cost of the list is more important [to mailers] than I’ve seen it in years.”
Ostroy says the types of discounts, deductions and other price considerations haven’t changed much. But, he adds, “when supported by evidence of marginal response, low average order amount, high duplication and/or other pertinent factors relating to the mailing, the process of negotiating can begin earnestly, and usually ends in mutual satisfaction.”