List View: The Unique Perspective of a Boutique
HM: How does this translate into benefits for the marketer?
Rubin: Because boutique firms tend to be decentralized, they must remain on the cutting edge, and stay as knowledgeable about industry trends and practices as their competitors.
Unlike some of the larger firms, boutiques don’t have ancillary services to offer, quotas to fill or strategic alliances to deal with within their shops. Therefore, boutique firms can focus on recommending “best in class” services to their clients.
Also, some boutiques will handle both brokerage and management for some of their clients. I think it really helps to see the business from both vantage points and gives the client the benefit of a unified front.
HM: How does a long-term partnership with a list firm benefit a marketer?
Rubin: There’s a definite advantage to having a marketing partner for many years. The list broker and manager today need to be much more creative and really understand a client’s business as though it was their own.
Speaking from experience, many times when we work with a client, we’re the senior person at that company who understands the direct marketing side of the business. We help train their people, because we understand the industry and know the challenges their predecessors faced. We have records that go back since forever—before there were computers!
Usually, if a long-term client decides to use a new company, there’s a tremendous learning curve that has to be overcome.
HM: From your vantage point, what are some areas of future growth that marketers should consider?
Rubin: I see great growth in databases and my firm has really done well in this arena by supplementing our client’s response list purchases. People have looked at compiled databases as an adjunct to their mail plans. Most of them don’t use this tool, because they don’t think it’s going to work and that it won’t respond like a typical response file. I believe that’s a mistake.