*U.S. Firm Wins Award at London Show

LONDON–Kroll International has won the DM Business Magazine award for business lists and databases at the International Direct Marketing Fair here.

The company is the Dublin-based subsidiary of Kroll Direct Marketing, a Plainsboro, NJ, company with broad experience in the international list business.

“They brought the award around to our stand and that's how we learned we had won it,” said company president Leland Kroll. The award is a slab of crystal with text engraved on it.

“We entered our product, Publibase, because the pre-conference literature sent to our office said that any exhibitor could enter this competition,” said Kevin Eakins, Kroll International's managing director.

Publibase, a database that has the names of 2.5 million subscribers to 150 trade and professional magazines published by 14 companies in the United States and abroad, was launched in October.

“We introduced the concept to list owners last May and four months later had all the agreements we needed to start,” Kroll said. It took another two months to set up the database and get it rolling.

Data Services Inc., a Maryland-based computer service bureau, built the database.

“We interviewed six service bureaus in the UK and Europe and DSI and felt that Jerry Mesa's outfit has the best software solutions, the best list hygiene, the best cost and online count system for this product,” Kroll said.

About 1.1 million names on the database are from West European subscribers, 142,000 names are from Eastern Europe, 146,000 from the Middle East and 184,000 from Latin America.

“We're looking to add another 600,000 to 700,000 names for the next update we plan to complete in April,” Kroll said.

The database overwhelmingly contains foreign names, but about 8 percent are North Americans who subscribe to foreign publications. The product is not used in the U.S. market.

Kroll is building a network of representatives to sell the new product across Europe and already has companies in place in the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands that include DBI in France and Wegener in the Netherlands.

“We'll look next at Spain and Southern Europe and for someone in the Middle East if we can find anybody,” Eakins said. “Israel would be a nice country to move in as well.”

Kroll is using an array of media to market his new product, including advertising in trade publications in the US and Europe, direct mail, telemarketing, visits to brokers, a company Web site and e-mail circulars.

As for the lists he used, Kroll said, “we know the players in the list business.”

In London, Kroll also is concluding a deal with Schober, one of Germany's largest direct marketing companies, to manage its 50-million name German file in the United States. It contains 4.5 million German businesses as well.

Schober had a U.S. office for a number of years but closed it and opted to go through a U.S. company to sell its lists to American companies interested in penetrating the German market.

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