Looking forward at list marketing

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending ALC's 13th Annual For Brokers Only Luncheon at the Chelsea Piers in New York. With more than 100 brokers and list marketers in the room, the event was a great place to see the passion for data and list, despite the challenges that face our economy and the direct mail and catalog industry. In fact, the well loved event that raffles prizes and gathers leaders together was originally set to be canceled by economic forecasts, however ALC executives said that due to the number of requests they proceeded with the event.

Fran Green, president of Smart Data Solutions at ALC, spoke candidly about the failure of many list companies to meet all the challenges of the digital age - pointing to a number of direct marketing capabilities that have been "served up to retail companies by people outside of the traditional marketing space."

She jokingly likened the current challenge to the product innovation marketer TerraCycle has done. The company's successful plant food turns worm waste into money; challenging attendees to take lemons and make lemonade.

The theme of the lunch was sustainability, and keynote speaker Bryan Welch, publisher and editorial director of Mother Earth News and Ogden Publications, also invoked metaphors arround transformative change as well as addressing the challenges of the list industry balancing green policy with sound economic growth.

"The list business is one that was built on human relationships and that is something that I have always admired and respected about the field," Welch said.

ALC CEO Donn Rappaport asserted that the goals of environmentalism and profitablilty were both good for business, saying that the list industry, mailers and catalogers "can position themselves on the same side of the table" as the eco-conscious.

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