List Management Inside or Out?
Or, he suggests, you can compromise by using an access tool to divvy up your own customers, but hire an outside bureau to segment your actual mailing selections.
Wheaton discourages companies with limited segmentation capability from immediately outsourcing, asserting that most list rental selection criteria are relatively basic. "Advanced segmentation capability to me means more than just creating simple extracts of your customer file," he says.
Indeed, Trollinger claims that as long as you have a fully functioning relational database and some set queries built by either your IT or database management departments, you can build consistent selects, and from those you can compile reports.
Another factor to consider is whether or not you consider your list rental activity to be a reliable profit center, according to Trollinger. Companies relying on this income may want to guarantee it by hiring a list manager, since selling and generating revenue from the file is one of a manager's first priorities.
Having an outside firm manage your list also lends it credibility, he adds.
In fact, Trollinger can recall only one instance when he had a client that chose to keep track of its own list order fulfillment—and that catalog isn't mailing anymore. "They couldn't fulfill the list exchanges at the rate they needed," he explains. "They needed someone to do the paperwork for them."