In a recent post, I addressed the issue of undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail, and how brands, businesses and other mailers lose more than $1 billion a year by not getting their mail addressed properly. It's a solvable problem. Both the USPS and the DMA have made public commitments to reduce UAA as an industry goal, both of which would help marketers and their bottom lines. Progress toward UAA reduction, however, has not been uniform.
As database marketing shifts to alternate forms of list building using cooperative databases and crowd-sourced lists, the world of the list broker is also changing. List brokers are transitioning from purveyors of response databases, tailoring a handful of subscriber lists to marketers' broad needs and taking a 20 percent cut of proceeds, to more full-service marketing consultancies where list rentals are only part of their offerings.
Any list professional worth his or her salt knows that data cards are just a starting point in doing list research, but that doesn't mean their role is inconsequential to list managers and list owners. To maintain a high degree of quality list information for brokers and marketers, list marketing/research services provider NextMark, based in Hanover, N.H., has developed a ranking of list managers that use its data card publishing tool called the NextMark Top 50.
For decades, marketers have shaped their direct mail programs around the knowledge that the most recent customer or lead names to come onto a file, called a hotline, are the most responsive to be had in the marketplace. But now that we're marketing in the Internet age, with access to hotline segments on e-mail lists as well, has this select lost any of its luster?
"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