Internet Buyers Broaden List Market, Mailer Horizons

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Internet buyer lists at postal address are starting to hit the market in greater numbers and frequency, grabbing the attention of direct mailers.


List brokers and managers alike confirm that their clients are aware of and interested in this bevy of new names despite some hesitation.


"There is a definite demand for those names," said Frank Quaranta, director of new products and system development at Millard InterActive, Peterborough, NH.


Traditional direct mailers have been approaching the Internet in phases, Quaranta said. The first phase has been putting up a Web site, and the second phase involves evaluating and retooling the site, he said, adding that very few have not reached this point yet.


Quaranta sees direct mailers expanding Web efforts by attempting to capture e-mail addresses for their house file mail-order customers as opposed to trying the e-mailing lists that are on the market. He likens most of these lists to compiled files because most are not based on transactional data. Internet buyers at postal address lists offer a new source of names that direct mailers are more comfortable with.


A report released this month by research company Jupiter Communications Inc., New York, predicts that e-mail marketing will cannibalize 13 percent of direct mail revenue in 2005. However, Michele Slack, senior analyst at Jupiter, acknowledged that the study looked at cannibalization from a customer retention standpoint rather than an acquisition standpoint.


While e-mail is a better customer retention tool, direct mail is effective for customer acquisition, she said.


"This is primarily because in a lot of cases, direct mail lists are more developed than e-mail brokered lists," Slack said.


She said that mailing to Internet buyers at postal address may be a good way to acquire new customers and capture their e-mail addresses for future use.


"It seems like every week the list of available files is growing," said Linda Thompson, director of catalog list management at Millard. She is encouraging her clients to get their names up by June, in time for the fall/holiday mailing season.


Millard alone has introduced 16 Internet-sourced buyer files at postal addresses this month.


Tricia Fleming, vice president of list brokerage at Mokrynski & Associates Inc., Hackensack, NJ, expects that the use of these files will increase for the fall season. She is not surprised to see new lists coming out as mailers prepare to start testing. Brokers and mailers know that if they don't give names, they won't get them in many cases.


"Many list owners are dumping Internet buyers into their catalog buyer files," said Chris Montana, vice president of list management at Mokrynski. Mailers may be getting Internet buyers already and may not know it, he said.


Thompson acknowledged there may be a high duplication rate between regular files and Internet buyer files. She recommended deduping these files when they are taken at the same time, if allowed by the list owner.


Thompson's research in the market has shown that list owners charge base rates averaging between $125 to $150 per thousand for Internet buyers. Select charges are additional and can elevate list prices to well over $200/M.


Higher pricing is not an issue in the opinion of Karen Mayhew, group sales director at Direct Media Inc., Greenwich, CT. She said the no-deals policy on the Spiegel Internet buyer file has not deterred mailers.


"At an average of $150/M, these names are a hard sell," countered Heather Maylander, vice president of list brokerage at American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ. She finds most mature mailers to be conservative and cost-conscious.


Since testing is just beginning, it will be a while before mailing results start coming in, Thompson said. She said she is excited and optimistic about the future of this new market.


Internet buyer lists vary by counts, prices and selections. A sampling of files on the market follows:


J. Crew Internet Buyers at Home Address, available through Mokrynski, has a 12-month count of 586,000. The base rate for 12-month buyers is $150/M with additional select charges for recency, gender, geography, purchase type and dollar.


J. Jill Internet Buyers at Postal Address offers 50,000 12-month Web site buyers at $150/M. For additional selection fees, recency and geography can be added. The file is at Millard.


Kitchen & Home Internet Buyers is managed at ALC of NY. The total file is 16,000 names and is priced at $150/M. The file has no other selections at this time.


Norm Thompson Universe Internet Buyers file is made up of Norm Thompson, Solutions and Early Winters. It is managed by Millard, and the 67,000 12-month buyers are $125/M. The list is selectable by division and geography.


Ross-Simons Web Buyers at Postal Address has 48,000 12-month buyers at $150/M. Selects of recency, geography and gender are priced separately. Millard manages the file.


Spiegel Internet Buyers is managed at Direct Media. Its list of 143,000 12-month buyers has a base rate of $140/M. Geography, recency, dollar and age selects are extra.


Additional information on these files and others can be obtained through the list management firms mentioned above.

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