"I'd like to know on a weekly, if not daily, basis, 'How is that April mailing doing?' It's a luxury, but having that data allows me to be a strong ally," Kehrli says.
That may be a good deal to cough up for some marketers, but Glass says he has no reservations when it comes to supplying Kehrli with the information he needs.
"There was a time in our mail plan when [Kehrli] had more decision power than most list brokers traditionally have," says Glass, commenting on their collective tenure at PETA. "But during the two years I was there, the mailings got better and better."
NRL Direct's Steve Bogner says a mailer's prior list results and changes in merchandise and price points also are needed to formulate a solid plan.
"Some mailers feel comfortable sharing actual spreadsheets with their brokers," Bogner says, "and some might disclose percent response, number of orders, average order, cost of goods, cost of return, etc. Other mailers don't want to share any of that. It's whatever they're comfortable with."
A list broker might only be given the results of "A" list versus "B" list, he points out.
Bogner says that since HSN Improvements is an established and mature company—with a vice president of marketing, a circulation director and a circulation analyst—a list broker would not be involved very deeply in the list plan. "You do everything else," he says, "the negotiations, you get the net names, the exchange commitments, list selects …"
HSN Improvement's Buchler says you have to give your list broker all the data required to make these decisions.
"As a mailer you need to communicate not only your goal—whether you're going to invest a dollar a name or $5 a name—but also how each individual list segment did against that goal previously," Buchler says.