Special Report Insert Media Buying Guide
Finding New Ground
Considering that there are about 600 to 800 insert programs on the market (most industry experts agree to this estimation), a direct marketer and/or its insert media broker can become fairly knowledgeable about the marketer's options in short time.
All the usual list research tools—mIn, SRDS, NextMark, etc.—should be consulted on a regular basis. But the only way to track down programs as they are being developed—or that never will be promoted in any datacard database—is to create a contact network. Zuckermandel says that "unofficial" programs don't make up a huge percentage of the insert industry, and states that they tend to be pretty easy to find, especially those in niche categories.
A good broker or direct marketer doing its own research will stay in touch with list managers to see if any of their clients would be interested in gaining revenue from taking an insert, explains Benicewicz. Some of these individual arrangements tend to be the start of a new, more formal program.
It's also key to talk to marketers themselves, especially if they don't put their housefile on the market for rent. Sometimes, Benicewicz says, these firms are more open to the idea of trading inserts or negotiating a CPM charge to insert your promotional pieces.
Zuckermandel notes that insert exchanges are not necessarily the best deal for the brokers or the managers, but thinks they are good for the overall insert media business.
Of course, there are marketers who set up insert deals without the help of a broker and program owners who manage their own insertion businesses. When marketers are seeking out more and more insert volume, program owners certainly don't need a manager to drum up business for them.
But turning a profit on inserts—for both the program owner and the marketer—is a tricky business. Henry explains that what happens on the packaging floor of a program owner's production firm largely is unregulated, so it's not uncommon for insertions to be performed incorrectly.