Economic Impact on List Rental Supply vs. Web 2.0 Insights
Given the consideration that revenues from list rental may offset losses from other areas on a direct marketer’s income statement, would a slowed economy in 2009 bring more new lists to market? Many would like to think so, but the hypothesis needs to be tested and getting to the answer is not that simple.
However, there are a few trends that might support this theory based on data from the NextMark index of 60,000 datacards. Here’s what we learned from the activity of approximately 800 list managers during the first quarter of 2009 compared with previous periods:
1. More new datacards in Q1 2009: 3,311 new datacards were published during the first quarter of 2009, compared with 3,102 during the same period in 2008—representing a 6.7 percent increase. This also exceeds the calendar 2008 quarterly average (2,972) by 11.4 percent.
2. Reduced universe sizes for new files: The average universe size decreased by 23 percent when comparing new cards published during the first quarter of 2009 with the same period in 2008. The average universe size decreased even more (33 percent) when comparing new datacards published in the first quarter of 2009 with those published in the previous quarter.
3. Increase in "e-mail-only" files: The number of e-mail-only list datacards also jumped significantly last quarter. There were 276 e-mail-only files added by NextMark users during the first quarter of 2009, compared with 196 during the first quarter of 2008 and 147 during the first quarter of 2007. That represents an average annual increase of 43.8 percent.
4. Slight decline in new files without e-mail addresses: The number of new list datacards that did not offer e-mail addresses (postal only) declined consistently each quarter over the trailing 12-month period. However, the average decrease in number of files was only about 1 percent per quarter.
5. Datacard cloning for e-mail lists types: Based on the observations in Nos. 3 and 4 above, one might expect the number of new files that include both postal and e-mail names would have increased. However, the findings were less predictable. The number of new multichannel datacards added in 2009 actually decreased compared to the first quarter of 2008. A few companies are creating e-mail-only versions of the datacard versus adding the e-mail list type to the existing datacard for an active postal list. This increases the number of searchable Web documents as well as the perceived count of list titles.
So how does this relate to the original question of whether or not the slowed economy would bring more new lists to market? Is there truly an increase in the supply of fresh names available for brokers and mailers to rent?