Direct Marketers Reveal How to Get what You Give
By Lisa Yorgey Lester
It sounds like a simple, cost-cutting solution for direct marketers: exchanging lists of equal value with another mailer without transacting a single cent. No rental fees are incurred and highly desired access to sought-after, no-rent lists sometimes can be gained.
But the swap still has its risks. Not only would you relinquish your own potential rental income, you must be vigilant about the actual worth of the names being bartered—and whether the ones you receive are equal to the ones you hand over. In essence, the list exchange is not merely a source of free names.
So, when is it prudent to trade rather than rent? And how do you ensure you get what you give? Three direct mailers revealed to Target Marketing their own modus operandi for achieving equal trade in the list exchange game.
ROBYN MOHR, associate marketing manager for catalogs, Lenox Collections, Langhorne, Pa.
Target Marketing: What is your criteria for a list exchange?
Mohr: First, we look at the mailer. If we know and trust the cataloger, then we'll go for an exchange. We also check the offer and the number of names requested. If the number is too high, we may decline because we won't be able to use that volume.
TM: How do you determine how many names to exchange?
Mohr: We initially look at the dupe rate after a merge/purge, and we consider the season in which we're mailing. We then weigh that number against the number of segments we likely will take—a 12-month file or one to six months of names. We try not to get balances that are too exorbitant.
TM: How do you get equal value on an exchange?
Mohr: We consider whether the names being exchanged actually work for each mailer. If a new mailer we've never mailed or exchanged with is asking for an exchange, we consult our broker. We also look at how new a catalog might be, who its buyer is and how often it prospects. Is it likely to be a rich file, does its future look promising or could it be a one-time exchange?