Top brokers describe today’s challenging catalog list market
Papalia: Consumer catalogers should be expanding their horizons into the business-to-business marketplace. Today’s economy requires families to have two incomes in order to meet the financial requirements of the lifestyles they’ve chosen. They no longer have the luxury of leisure time at home and are utilizing their lunch hours and commuting time to catch up on reading—not just newspapers and magazines, but catalogs, too.
Also, catalogers should consider testing subscriber files in complementary categories. A good example of this strategy is how several food mailers are using various business-to-busines files we manage.
Catalog Success: What about new/improved enhancements, models or other tools mailers should use?
Belardi: The co-op databases always are something catalog mailers should consider. Experian’s Z-24 has offered its RFM-Plus product as a way to tap into hotline catalog buyers that you can’t yet access through traditional list rentals. Their Circbase database allows catalogs to target true catalog buyers from publishing files, with the overlay of actual transactional catalog buyer behavior.
Maylander: Many mailers are revisiting the Z-24 database with renewed success, and we’ve delved deeper into reviewing existing databases to target customers through their buying habits.
Mickolajczyk: Catalogers should be making optimum use of the cooperative databases like Abacus and Z-24. The database products have evolved to a point where they’re absolutely necessary components of any cataloger’s mail plans. The names are cost-effective, and most of the models have evolved to be stellar performers. I advise clients to take advantage of these products, pre-merge and post-merge. The Cross-Member modeling that Abacus offers has opened significant universes to many of our clients, by finding usable segments of out-of-category lists that we otherwise could not even consider.
Catalog Success: What’s been the trend in pricing of lists? Are owners willing to negotiate?
Belardi: Base list prices have not gone up that much in the past year or two. But the overall amount mailers are paying has increased due to the select charges they’re paying. Mailers now are using more selects to make those lists work for them. With most list owners, there’s some room to negotiate on select charges.