List View-Remember What Drives Our Business (1,058 words)
By ED BOCKNIK
The popularity of many things in everyday life is quite cyclical. Bellbottoms, white wine, mini-skirts, neutral colors and so on … fads and styles are sometimes hot, sometimes they're not. Hot topics come and go in business too, particularly in our direct marketing industry, with issues such as regression analysis, high list prices and strategic partnerships. Lately, the terrible plight of the list broker and list manager is all the rage … more on that shortly.
Regardless of what's in or what's out, it's imperative that everyone involved in any phase of direct marketing remember what's most important: the success of the mailer. Sure, that sounds so basic, so fundamental, so obvious. Tell me then, why do some of us forget it all too frequently, or worse yet, why do some of us choose to ignore it altogether?
I mentioned the current fad involving brokers and managers. Articles abound and convention conversations are chock full of tales of woe. Brokers are working harder than ever before, managers spend too much time reporting to list owners, both are caught up with seemingly endless negotiations, and e-commerce has complicated our lives. We have it so tough that a new industry has seemingly popped up overnight to make our lives easier, that of companies developing universal list research and fulfillment systems (whether such initiatives are truly helpful remains to be seen).
Of course, our jobs as vendors are not always easy, but remember … brokers and managers, and you, too—printers, service bureaus, consultants, and the trade press—we are all members of the supporting cast. There is only one player in a leading role, only one star, only one engine that truly runs our industry: the mailer.
Here's another way to look at it. Every mailer is our client. Sure, brokers work with specific mailers, managers exclusively represent the files of specific mailers/owners, etc., but in actuality, we need to be concerned with the well-being of all mailers. Healthy mailers make for a healthy industry and in the long-run, we all prosper.