Top brokers describe today’s challenging catalog list market
Finding fresh sources of names to mail has always challenged catalogers. Lately, it’s become more competitive as catalogs all seem to mail into a finite universe of buyers.
But catalog list brokers say they’re having some success helping their clients break new ground using tools from non-catalog compiled lists and publication files. Not only is the Internet a research tool for mailers and brokers, but it also is a developing source of new names.
Read on for insights into the state of the catalog list market from five list professionals:
• Steve Mickolajczyk, president, Brokerage Division, Catalyst Direct Marketing;
• Donna Belardi, president, ALC, New York, LLC;
• Steve Bogner, president, NRL Direct;
• Heather Maylander, senior vice president, brokerage, American List Counsel; and
• John Papalia, president, Statlistics.
Catalog Success: Please describe for us the current market for catalog lists.
Belardi: It is very limited. Simply put, there are less and less new catalogs entering the market that are building substantial housefiles, and that translates to fewer new catalog lists for prospecting.
Bogner: There’s a 20-percent cutback on what mailers are sending right now. So they’re ordering fewer lists. This is typical after a postal increase. Even though it wasn’t huge, it was when the economy was sliding, so mailers took it as a sign to trim their mail plans. I suspect some people may try to make it up in the fourth quarter.
Maylander: We haven’t seen a lot of new catalog lists on the market. Rather, different segmentations of the same lists are being marketed. We also have been targeting Internet companies that launched catalogs, and now are offering their names on the market, for example, Red Envelope. But overall the market has been relatively stagnant.
Mickolajczyk: The current market for catalog lists is best described as tight. We’ve reached a point where the barriers of entry to the catalog market, especially market saturation and cost, are high enough that there’s been a dearth of quality new lists coming to the market for a while now. This, combined with the loss of lists from those companies that have gone out of business, has put quite a squeeze on the market. On the positive side, many lists have broadened their usability through additional selectivity and expansion into new product categories.