Q&A: Andrew Marcus, Media One CEO

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Andrew Marcus
Andrew Marcus

Andrew Marcus, CEO of Media One, a direct marketing company with a focus on email and postal lists, discusses campaign marketing and why he thinks lists prices won't return to 2007 levels.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Your company houses the complete US Voter Registration File for all 50 states. How will Web marketing and direct marketing be used during the upcoming election year?

Andrew Marcus (Media One): The file comes as a postal-based file. We append a lot of data elements, such as voting history, double opt-in email, landline, cell, SMS codes, lifestyle and behavioral attributes, like gun ownership, past donations, political causes, health causes and educational causes. We know if they vote in primaries or general elections; we know their voter activity. Once you overlay that information, you know what makes that person vote and how to get them out of their chair. Data can only be used by political candidates, political action committees, and special interest groups involved in political ventures, to figure out how to market to [a particular group].

DMN: A lot of the services that your company develops seem to bridge technology and data marketing. What is the next product Media One will bring to market?

Marcus: IP matching. No one who compiles data really does this. Companies that offer banner ads will be able to pop a banner ad based off geography, as well as the lifestyle attributes of the consumer. If you're an outdoorsman, banner ads will pop up specifically for you. If you're friend is a golfer, he'll get golf ads. This allows the display world to hone in and offer better banner ads to the consumer. This isn't a new product, but we're doing it from a very large data level using 180 to 210 million records from offline.

DMN: Can you explain how behavioral targeting with offline data benefits marketers?

Marcus: Targeting allows for lower opt-out rate. It allows you to continually market them. We track actions of opens and clicks so we know why Mary always clicks on gardening offers. We know she's an open-and-clicker of that type of product. Why upset her by sending something for off-road Jeeps? Using offline data to target online allows business to market to people who actually want to receive the material. With that, you'll receive better retention. If you do mass marketing, you're taking the shotgun approach. That worked in 2001 when everyone and their mother opened email.

DMN: We've seen reports recently that list prices continue to fall dramatically? Where do you see database marketing going in the next year or so? Will it ever get back to pre-recession levels?

Marcus: I don't know that it will ever get back to 2007. It will for new lists that don't currently exist. But the industry has become more about quantity over quality. It's more a modeled approach than customer interaction and response. Businesses want the masses more than honed-in consumers. We used to get 25 cents an email that goes out. Now if we get a tenth of a cent for an email, that's a lot. Mass mail causes a very low response and in turn devalues the cost of the product. With targeted email, as long as you can show retention and response, you can still charge a premium for your data. Prices won't go back to the remarkable prices we once saw but we can get back to 75% of that.

A previous version of this article mischaracterized the contents of the US Voter Registration file. It is only a postal-based file. The file can only be used by political candidates, political action committees and special interest groups involved in political ventures. Direct Marketing News regrets the error.

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