Lists: Maximum Help From Limited Resources
It’s no secret that there are far fewer list management and brokerage firms vying for our business. Many of the smaller, more entrepreneurial list firms have been absorbed by a few large corporations. As a result, some catalogers believe there are fewer opportunities to negotiate pricing and fewer choices in general. The same concerns exist about firms that rent out cooperative prospect lists.
But in reality, the contrary is true.
Never has the competition been fiercer among companies renting out prospect mailing and e-mailing lists, thanks not only to a weak and faltering economy, but also to changes in direct marketing brought about by the Web.
The economic downturn has caused a reduction in the number of direct marketers prospecting in the traditional manner. As a result, the number of names they’re renting for prospecting is diminishing. What’s more, the number of names available for rental is declining.
Therefore, the competition to supply those names and the services associated with them continues to increase. Most of the industry still receives a commission based on the number of names rented. No matter how compensation is structured, many list firms now are asked to do a great deal more for less.
“Most direct marketers have fewer resources than ever before,” says Linda Huntoon, executive vice president of consumer brokerage for Direct Media, which is a part of the infoGROUP umbrella of list firms. “They have reduced staff and cut back on systems and training. We are doing more consulting and more of the work that our clients did in the past. Fortunately, our association with a much larger company allows us to meet that challenge and offer more resources than ever.”
Detailed Circ Planning
More of Direct Media’s catalog clients than ever are turning to the list firm for detailed circulation planning and results analysis. “Without the deep resources provided by our affiliation with our parent company,” Huntoon says, “we’d be unable to carry the staff to provide these services in a cost-effective manner — for either ourselves or, in the long run, for our clients.”