*List Professionals Prepare to Do More

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NEW YORK -- More than 300 attendees gathered at the 23rd annual DMA List Day Conference here Aug. 11 to network with clients and vendors and discuss how technology, the Internet and changes in the marketplace will alter the role of the list professional in the next millennium.


In an era in which clients are demanding more, list firms need to take the lead and create professional service environments that add value. They will be asked to develop new sources to reach consumers and as a result will have to alter the business model of the traditional list broker.


"Clients are willing to look at list firms more and more as problem solvers than list brokers and managers,'' said Chris Paradyz, CEO of consultant Paradyz-Matera, New York, during a discussion of the list industry in the year 2000. "How we get service to the market is different. The tried-and-true methods don't work anymore.''


Paradyz and Michael Fishman, president of list brokerage for the SpeciaLISTS, Weehawken, NJ, advised list firms not to offer new capabilities until they are ready to deliver them with expertise and suggested partnerships among firms as a better avenue to develop new services.


Susan Goodman, executive vice president for Internet consultant Think New Ideas, New York, opened the conference with an update on the current marketing possibilities of the Internet and set the tone for a daylong discussion of how the online world will affect the list community.


Chief among new marketing sources is e-mail, which along with other alternative media, is expected to challenge and, according to Paradyz, eventually eclipse direct mail as a marketing medium. The use of the Internet for everyday functions like tracking and delivery of orders and display of data cards is also expected to become standard practice as list companies adopt systems similar to the List Track product introduced at the show by Worldata, Boca Raton, FL.


A curious new buzzword at List Day a year ago, e-mail now is a practical tool list firms must use to stay competitive. Two sessions were devoted to the development of e-mail lists and marketing campaigns and the privacy measures that must be taken to make them successful. Attendees were given strategies about building and renting e-mail lists, the wording and frequency of opt-in messages and the back-end server and production pitfalls to avoid in sending out bulk e-mail.


"People don't object to receiving e-mail as much as you think, if you do it correctly,'' said Deb Goldstein, president of IDG List Services, Framingham, MA, during a session on e-mail marketing.


Business-to-business marketers, the primary users of e-mail, are clamoring for more names because e-mail works, according to Reggie Brady of Direct Media, Greenwich, CT. They also are asking for more transaction-based lists, which currently comprise less than 1 percent of all e-mail lists on the market.


In addition to a review of new Internet media, List Day provided a platform to inform list professionals about technologies that have spurred the use of databases for prospecting, advanced modeling techniques and one to one marketing.


Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch -- who coined the phrase "How am I Doing," which is a tenet of direct response -- broke up the day with a lively keynote on the state of politics and his life in public service. Before Koch's speech, Staci Johnson of Fingerhut, Debbie Cuiffo of Direct Media and Cori Kenny of the SpeciaLISTS were honored as the Ron Davis Young List Professionals of the Year.


Lesli Rodgers, president of consulting firm LR Direct, Danbury, CT, was honored as DMA List Leader of the Year at a separate awards banquet Aug. 10.


During her 26 years in the list industry, Rodgers was credited for first explaining the difference between list brokers and managers to Diane Silverman, now chairwoman of the DMA List and Database Council, teaching net name arrangement to Stefanie Pont, senior account manager for the Millard Group and dispensing wisdom to countless others in the business. Michael Faulkner, vice president of councils and segment services at the DMA, called Rodgers the consummate teacher and as someone "who gets the job done.''


"I was lucky to go out looking for a job and finding a career,'' Rodgers said in her acceptance speech. "I was lucky to find something fascinating, something for which I can't wait to get up and go to work the next day. I can't wait to see what happens next.''
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