The Changing Dimensions of a List Manager
Many of us are aware of what list managers do for their list owners—advertising, publicizing, representing at tradeshows and conferences, executing Web and e-mail promotions, making in-person and telephone sales, keeping track of historical rental and exchange records of names, and issuing financial reports on list rental
revenue of their managed lists. But is that all there is to being a list manager today?
What is your definition of a list manager? Start with the word "list." It denotes a series of names and addresses (postal, e-mail, etc.), and a variety of selections—gender, geography, hotline. When you think of the word "manager," you may think of the classic definition—one who manages by conducting business affairs. That is, the act of operating and supervising a business; an answer to doing things more efficiently and effectively through planning, coordination and control. When the words "list" and "manager" are combined, we might say this describes the art of managing a grouping of names and addresses.
Can list management be so narrowly defined today? Does today's list manager only take care of advertising, promotions, accounting and sales efforts, or is the list manager's role now much broader? What should a list owner expect from its list manager now, whether the manager is an in-house employee or a professional management company paid a commission for its expertise? Should the definition of what a list manager is and does change?
Many challenges face the list community—users and manager alike—including mailers cutting back, list universes shrinking, models not working, fewer new lists/segments being introduced to the market and declining list management revenues. The solutions to these problems will spring from how list managers view their role as managers and what list owners come to expect from list managers.
List managers obviously should focus on the accounting, sales and marketing aspects of their business. To truly earn the title of "manager," they must have the goal of maximizing the value of their list owners' files. That goal means a decided change in the way "list manager" is defined.