Marketing Your List-In-house or Outside Management? (510 words)
By Denny Hatch
Is In-house or outside Management Right for You?
FOR OCCASIONAL marketers, list rental is the main source of income. After serving time for salacious advertising, Ralph Ginzberg, formerly of Eros, started a newsletter called MoneysWorth. A huge part of his business then became gathering the names of literate responders and marketing the list. Recently, Boardroom bought the MoneysWorth name, and it was reborn under Martin Edelston's aegis.
Some marketers, including AARP and the American Bible Society, do not allow their lists into commerce at all. For most, however, list rental represents icing on the cake. After all, to generate income, a mailer only needs to switch on a computer and run the names. The cost may just be $1.00 per thousand; however rental income from those names can be as much as $75 to $150 or more per thousand. In short, this is an enormously profitable sideline.
Recently, Reader's Digest decided to put some icing on its cake and started offering its vast list for rental for the first time in its history (see TM Jan. '98, pp. 54-59). To engineer this extraordinarily complex project, it hired Diane Silverman, the knowledgeable and enormously capable list manager who had been with Doubleday for years. Silverman works in close consort with list management/brokerage giant Direct Media.
With her vast experience in the list business, Silverman could walk into Reader's Digest and know exactly what to do to maximize the profitability. But how would the average direct marketer go about putting a list on the market?
At The Direct Marketing Association's List Day last August the question was posed: "When does it pay to manage a list in-house?" Karen Isenberg of Direct Media suggested that for a list to be efficiently marketed in-house, it should generate at least $500,000 a year.