Marketshare Group Acquires DR Decks

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The Marketshare Group, Overland Park, KS, has bolstered its position as the largest mailer of consumer card decks and added a compiled list business with the acquisition today of Direct Response Decks, Omaha, NE.

Both companies are privately held, and terms of the asset purchase were not revealed. Marketshare will operate the acquired assets as a new company, Direct Response Inc.

The addition of Direct Response Decks Inc. increases the mail volume of Marketshare's card deck subsidiary, Marketshare Publications, from 12 titles reaching 12 million consumers annually to 17 titles reaching 15 million. The next largest card deck mailer reaches 6 million consumers, according to Marketshare president Lee Payne.

Card decks are cooperative mailings that contain advertising messages on postcard-size inserts from catalogs, publications and other direct response marketers. Decks can include coupons and product samples and can generate orders or serve as the first step in the sales process by generating inquiries. The CPM for a card deck ranges from $20 to $30 compared to $50 to $75 for other alternative media such as package inserts and statement stuffers, according to Marketshare.

Direct Response Decks adds the investing and marketing managers categories to Marketshare's existing business in the gardening, woodworking, craft, home decorating, health, fishing, hunting and handyman categories.

"Our company is looking for ways to expand," Payne said of his firm's first acquisition. "Card decks in general have not been fully exploited as a medium. Direct Response Decks gives us unique titles with different access [to consumers]."

Marketshare has obtained a compiled list brokerage operation in DRD division Direct Response Lists, Jacksonville, FL. Direct Response Lists has an existing client base of more than 500 mailers. Marketshare also owns List Locators & Managers, which specializes in the management and brokerage of 150 response lists, primarily in the catalog area.

Payne said the two list properties have unique customer bases and cultures and thus will be kept separate. While the response lists of List Locators can support the targeting and mailing needs of the acquired DRD card deck division, Direct Response Lists will be positioned to grow on its own.

Marketshare's clients include Times Mirror Magazines, Hearst Publications, L.L. Bean, Harry & David and First USA.

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