Would your list marketing be better with barter? Barter is the oldest form of exchange and it still exists today for many products, services, and data. While the concept of barter hasn't really changed, the facilitation of barter has evolved remarkably. In the early days, just a few thousand years ago, produce weights and livestock headcounts were tallied to calculate an exchange. For the past four decades, marketers have been applying the same principles to data. Today, technology makes it even easier to track the 'exchange balance of trade' and keep everyone accountable.
"In America, you have the watches but no time. In Nairobi, we have the time but no watches." That's a familiar quote I heard recently from "Evans," an international student from Kenya who is currently enrolled at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University. He got me thinking about the economics of marketing in the U.S. and how the proliferation of social networks has influenced media consumption and business user engagement. Although it is rarely thought of in this context, the rise of social marketing is rooted in basic economic principles. When the price is "zero," the laws of supply and demand often are ignored, but they still are relevant.
Given the consideration that revenues from list rental may offset losses from other areas on a direct marketer’s income statement, would a slowed economy in 2009 bring more new lists to market? Many would like to think so, but the hypothesis needs to be tested and getting to the answer is not that simple.
Direct marketers are finding out that when it comes to business intelligence, you may actually get more from what you don’t pay for. As risk tolerance changes with the economy, so does the level of financial accountability. Pencil sharpeners battle with creative minds over the beta for ROI calculations, while marketing budgets often take the biggest hit—a financial compromise that’s far from optimal. Many direct marketers are left to find answers in the public domain, leading to the rise of “direct marketing freeconomics.” The supply of online information has increased exponentially since the turn of the millennium—and demand has certainly kept its pace, as