List View - A New Platform Needed (687 words)
The List Industry
By Tim Barlow
During the last 23 years, I've been engaged in providing list management and brokerage services to some of the nation's leading direct marketers. I've witnessed the evolution of customer-acquisition and list-marketing strategies that have driven the success of today's market leaders.
Utilizing data processing and business information technology, the list services industry has increased dramatically the speed and cost effectiveness of direct marketing, thus enabling both large and small firms to share in the success of direct mail.
The development of "best practices" standards in the areas of merge-purge, response analysis, modeling, database management and good old-fashioned list research and salesmanship is a source of great pride for our industry.
Access to "best of breed" services by customers has always been subject to friction in process flow and delays in execution due to barriers that are formed naturally by competition. Our best technology often has been underutilized because of our need to maintain competitive advantages. The collaboration of brokers, managers, list fulfillment suppliers and merge-purge houses requires a high level of orchestration. Despite the competitive environment in which list companies operate, a working partnership between the players in the transaction cycle is essential.
All the parties to the transaction render their services and communicate with customers through list brokers or list managers. Communications by brokers or managers, albeit good-intentioned, are in most cases reactive instead of pro-active. Also, there often are delays caused by communication breakdowns and time zone differences.
In addition, competitive restrictions against direct communications preclude the delivery of timely information and in some cases obscure the true needs of the customer. The walls and compartmentalization the current process creates need to be eliminated, and the list services industry needs to move to the next level.
A New Platform Needed