List marketers play the name game

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Gloria Adams, SVP of audience development and book publishing at PennWell Corporation
Gloria Adams, SVP of audience development and book publishing at PennWell Corporation

Finding the right vertical lists can be tough, experts say. Pamela Oldham explores what one marketer is doing to find the best data.

I'd give my right arm for a 20% response rate,” laments Gloria Adams, SVP of audi­ence development and book publishing at PennWell Corporation, a b-to-b media company serving niche industries such as energy, engi­neering and computers. She says that one of the biggest impediments to achieving response rates once considered commonplace for b-to-b marketers is finding the right lists that can pro­vide the best results.

“It's becoming more difficult to find good lists,” she explains. “Companies are becoming selective in who they're renting to.” Moreover, she adds, getting enough “good” names on those lists is a challenge.

Changes made in campaign planning

Choosing the right vertical industry mailing lists can be tough in the b-to-b world, especially when current data is a constantly moving target. But Adams and other experts are overcoming these challenges by retooling the way they plan and deploy their marketing campaigns.

Headquartered in Tulsa, OK, and with offices around the globe, the privately held PennWell is a diversified provider of print and online publi­cations, conferences and exhibitions, research, databases, online exchanges, and information products to the global market. The company's inaugural publication, Oil & Gas Journal, was the first to cover what was then an emerging oil industry.

Among other duties, Adams holds responsibil­ity for audience development — marketing the company's magazine subscriptions and renewals. After nearly 30 years in marketing — 10 with PennWell — Adams has seen extensive changes in publishing as well as b-to-b marketing.

“Magazines are a tougher sell today,” she says. “But the need for information has never gone away — and it won't. Now it's [about finding out] how people want to get that information — whether through print, digital or the Web — and how often. Also, do they want the informa­tion pushed to them or do they want to get it themselves? We are information providers now, and we provide the information, however and whenever they want.”

To find the right lists, Adams goes to the sources she trusts: vertical industry publica­tions whose records are regularly verified by independent auditing agencies such as BPA. Together with PennWell's list management and brokerage firm, Connecticut-based firm Statlistics, Adams' circulation managers (now known in the business as “audience developers”) determine targets, titles, and industry require­ments and then choose publications that match Adams' desired audience.

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