List View: The Unique Perspective of a Boutique
The direct marketing industry has witnessed its fair share of mergers and acquisitions in the past decade. But quite a few niche companies have remained holdouts in this urge to merge. Boutique list firms, says Adrea Rubin, founder of Adrea Rubin Marketing Inc. and Adrea Rubin Management Inc., have carved out their own space in the list industry and continue to serve clients without bringing ancillary services, like e-mail deployment or data modeling, in-house.
Target Marketing Editor in Chief Hallie Mummert talked with Rubin this month to solicit her insights on what it means to be a boutique shop in the list industry.
Hallie Mummert: What is a boutique list firm?
Adrea Rubin: It’s a list company that has an interactive staff and that takes on selective clients. At my firm, for example, we focus on financial services/credit offers; continuity; insurance; catalog marketing; and senior citizen marketing. We don’t want to be all things to all mailers.
Boutique firms also tend to be owner-operated companies, where the owners actively participate in every part of the business. Clients can reach me personally to discuss their business challenges. At some of the larger firms, [the chief executives] are figureheads, and are not involved in the day-to-day activity of the firm.
HM: How does a boutique list firm approach working with clients?
Rubin: Boutique list firms emphasize an individualized and hands-on approach to service, instead of passing clients from department to department. And boutiques typically do not have centralized order departments, so account executives are involved with every aspect of an account.
The staff at boutique list firms also may do the majority, if not all, of their clients’ list acquisition work for them. This experience produces account teams of seasoned professionals, even at the junior level. At the end of the day, whether clients choose to work with a large company or a boutique firm, their business will only be as successful as the people who work on their account.