Lists in the New World
I think what's been added to the mix is a new theme [of security and trust] that can bring in more from the existing list universe, and then add new universes. There's always that possibility.
TM: Are there any repercussions for marketers mailing more heavily to their housefiles?
Kurtz: Clearly, the hotlines are going to have fewer names; you're not bringing new names into the mailable universe of your list or anybody else's list that we haven't seen before. It's multi-buyers on top of multi-buyers.
Now, those are great mail-order people. So, if you have a new offer going to a particular list, I don't think those names are inferior.
TM: How can you find out if a mailer is blitzing its housefile and doing little prospecting?
Kurtz: Every mailer is different, and that's why it's always important to ask list managers and list owners about the habits of their mailing schedules—and what the mix of house versus outside is at any given point. The last thing you need is a list that's completely different from one quarter to the next.
TM: Quite a few companies have merged this past year. Any concerns for mailers?
Kurtz: Just because companies merge, I wouldn't assume that the lists were merged.
Hopefully, the list owners or managers would be sensitive to the community of people who are using those files and would respect the fact that they've been looked at as separate lists for so long … you can't in one fell swoop put them together.
My experience is that lists are usually kept separate and then new files [based on the merger of the two main lists] are created for new testing. Then, of course, you have to ask questions about how much duplication there is between what you used to mail versus what was just put together now with this new "master file."