Problem Solver: How can a list marketer beat the recession?

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Brian Manning
Brian Manning

There are many strategies you and your list manager can discuss to help combat these economic conditions, and to drive more testing. In addition to pricing initiatives, the progressive list owners also need to develop opportunities within their database. This will raise the visibility of your file in the market, and provide opportunities for related and secondary mailers to test your file.

Let's look at three major ideas that you can use to evaluate your own list rental program, along with the benefits of each strategy:

Pricing – Consider whether you are offering base price discounts for out-of-market mailers. An example would be a fundraising rate, or a catalog rate on a consumer publication. This also extends to businessto- business subs or buyers, provided the record is home address. You should also review your base pricing rates on an annual basis with your list manager to keep current with industry averages.

Further pricing incentives might include selection pricing caps, and also being flexible with minimum orders. You should also evaluate the many public and private database opportunities, as they also require special pricing. This will bring your files into play for more types of direct mailers, and will help increase the usage on your file from secondary and related categories.

Data – Are you making the best use of the available data overlays, both on b-to-b and consumer files? Adding company size, SIC, and sales volume to a b-to-b file will help drive testing — small businesses are a growing segment of this market, for example.

On the consumer side, try to offer age, income, and presence of children on your files. Both b-to-b and consumer list owners also need to consider releasing their e-mail names for rental, and b-to-b lists should also offer phones when possible. With the rapid developments in the overlay area, you need to be as market-specific as possible.

This will make your file more targeted, to the benefit of both your continuation and test mailers.

Promotions – It's important to make a careful analysis of how your files are being promoted, and to work closely with your list manager on their marketing plans.

Your promotions should include a combination of space advertising, e-mail promotions, e-newsletter sponsorships, and proper management of the various list directories.

Ask your list manager about their telemarketing efforts, as well as broker meetings and trade shows. Promote multichannel opportunities, when they exist within your files, to help drive testing on your postal program, your e-mail names, or your coregistration program.

The bottom line benefit to these promotions is the positioning of your subscriber or customer not only in their primary category, but also on the basis of their general profile.

This will benefit you in developing new sources of revenue from related markets.

No matter how you tackle your list program, the key strategy is to be involved, and to be a partner with your list manager. Today's economic challenges also provide unique opportunities for marketers to be more aggressive, to help offset some of the losses we're all seeing by category. The development of pricing strategies, combined with a careful analysis of the entire list portfolio, will benefit you by making your file more appealing to more test mailers.

You can reach Brian Manning at b.manning@statlistics.com.

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