List leaders discuss today's Challenging market (2,023 words)
By Kate Mason
If mailers look to the list industry as a barometer of direct marketing's overall health, they need not pull on their rainhats just yet! Even as uncertainty grips most markets—from catalogs to publishing—list companies are still expressing optimism about the future. John Papalia, president and CEO of Statlistics, poses a common attitude: "We may head into a long and difficult period of time and direct marketing has never known such a period or experienced a prolonged war time economy. I'm optimistic that America will flourish, but I'm hesitant to make any predictions right now."
Despite the effects of a staggering economy, direct marketers have every reason to believe that business will continue to hold strong, at least until the much-anticipated economic recovery rolls around. New lists, new enhancements and price negotiations appear promising. Overall, list managers express encouragement over growth in new areas. Missy Root, vice president of data management, optimistically says, "New lists still generate a high level of excitement." Adds Jeff Moriarty, director of sales and marketing for Cahners Lists,"Lists focused in the wireless communications and fiber optic areas are experiencing tremendous revenue growth rates versus those from previous years."
As for trends arising from the sense of economic insecurity, recently compounded by the terrorist attacks on America, Moriarty adds this observation: "Traditional mailers look to e-mail marketing as a cost-effective supplement or alternative to their direct marketing strategy in times of domestic economic uncertainty such as the recent conditions we are experiencing today."
But with mailers looking to keep costs down , which lists are most frequently rented and which lists are being ignored? And how are e-list rentals stacking up against traditional direct mailing lists? For answers and insights, read on as the following industry leaders discuss the current state of (list)affairs: