Panelists: List Industry Must Band Together

NEW YORK — Top threats facing the list industry are privacy, postal increases, a shrinking pool of talent, excessive paperwork, narrow focus, bad debt and consolidation, said Brian Kurtz, moderator of the keynote panel at yesterday's List Vision 2001 conference.

“Now is an important time for list leaders to band together,” Kurtz, executive president of Boardroom Inc., said as the panel discussed the topic “Shaping the Future of the List Industry.”

This has not been a great year for the list industry, he said, adding that he was disappointed in the turnout for a get-together preceding the conference the night before.

While Sara DeCarlo of Ziff Davis Media said her company has had great success with business-to-business e-mail marketing, other panelists said the consumer sector has a long way to go. Consumers are ready for e-mail marketing, said Lon Mandel of ClientLogic, but list owners are not.

Consumer list owners have been slow to put their files on the market. “It's the transaction data, stupid,” Kurtz said. Without that, he said, e-mail lists will not appeal to most consumers. Millard Interactive's Tom Rocco agreed, saying, “There is nothing that can improve e-lists that differs from what makes offline lists work.” The final panelist was Jim DeLash of Rodale Press.

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