What will be the list industry's most difficult challenge in 20
Edited By Lisa Yorgey Lester
Linda Huntoon, executive vice president, Direct Media, and chair of the DMA List/Database Council
The concern that consumers have about marketing techniques, and the lack of understanding they have of how and why they receive mail—either postal or electronic—is becoming very obvious. I believe the list industry's most difficult challenge in 2005 is to reassure the public that our motives are well founded, and to educate them so they understand that we bring quality to their lives—not clutter.
Consumers want control of all aspects of their lives, and their personal information (only list people call it data) is an important part of that control. Before we can look consumers in the eye and explain their need for our products and services, we need to be certain we are doing everything we can to play by the rules that consumers believe are the 'right' rules. That means we have to set up and abide by rules that may not be easy or necessarily profitable at the start. This is the classic 'pay me now or pay me later' scenario. Another way to think about it: [Just] because we can do something, doesn't mean we should.
The education aspect becomes easier to manage, once we commit to 'doing the right thing,' as the DMA asks of its members. Our future depends on developing lists of people who are responsive to the offers our clients mail to them. We can't build those lists without an informed universe of prospects who are open to our messages.
Andy Ostroy, chairman and CEO, ALC New York
List fatigue and declining response rates continue to be a drag on the industry. Performance, in particular from outside lists, has been steadily declining for years. Over-saturation is the cause. The best buyers