You Still Don’t Rent Out Your List?
To those catalogers who won’t rent out their buyer file, I have a question for you: It’s nearly 2008, who are you kidding? While most do rent out their files, some catalogers still feel they’re keeping others from mailing “their” customers by not renting out their buyer files. Oh yeah? This may have been true 15 or 20 years ago, prior to the introduction of cooperative databases, but certainly not today.
Those who continue not to rent their housefile are missing out on the opportunity to mail “good” names themselves while gaining additional list rental income. This month, I want to discuss best practices when renting your database and the advantages of doing so, because there’s plenty of opportunity out there for you on both sides of the rental fence.
Less than 10 percent of all consumer catalog companies and about 25 percent of all B-to-B catalogers don’t rent or exchange names with other companies, according to one list firm’s findings. Conversely, most catalogers will exchange names only with companies whose lists they wish to use. These companies make up about half of all consumer catalogers who don’t rent or exchange names with others.
It used to be that catalogers would have difficulty obtaining lists if they weren’t willing to rent out their own files. This mind-set has changed since companies are hungrier for list rental income to help their bottom line. But no doubt: Not renting or exchanging names impacts the lists available for prospecting.
Consumer vs. B-to-B
If you’re a consumer cataloger, I see no reason why you shouldn’t rent your customer file. For B-to-B catalogers, the decision to rent or not might be more difficult. In B-to-B, the decision maker often is difficult to reach, so the list could be more exclusive and proprietary. Then again, if the offer is noncompetitive, why not rent? If the offer is more competitive, however, you still might want to consider an exchange.