List rental may prove a valuable source of revenue for publishers
In these increasingly difficult economic times, marketers seeking new, targeted audiences for their products are opening up incremental revenue for b-to-b publishers via list rental. However, as marketers also reduce their mailings due to leaner budgets, the quality of the lists becomes even more important.
“Even more than ever [before], everybody needs to have the ability to demonstrate the return on investment—and return on effectiveness of their list,” said Mary N. Miller, director of marketing at DM2-DecisionMaker, which handles list rental for Reed Business Information.
DM2 recently added more-targeted data and supplementary services to its offerings, including the ability to track effectiveness within group segments such as the athletic or the travel audience.
DM2 also narrows its list as mailings progress in sequence, so that later mailings go both to the top respondents from earlier mailings and to names within its own database of 5 million names that line up statistically with those respondents. “It's purely analytics and matching up consumer patterns of all the different names in our database,” Miller said.
In addition, DM2 is licensing its lists differently than before. “If somebody wants to go after [for example] engineers of this type of demographic who are in this size company—and if they want to market to them and put them in their database—we find people like them within our own database and license that information to them,” she said. “We'll go find those people in our database, and that is very trackable, very measurable.”
This has been a big area of growth for the company in the last year, Miller said, adding that opportunities abound in this space. “There are always new ways to slice the information and add in other information,” she said.
Deb Walsh, director of audience development at Tabor Communications, suggested getting as much information as possible from subscribers and integrating it all into a database. Don't worry about missing data, she said: “That's what append services are for. The more information you can add to the record, the more revenue can be made on selection fees. An integrated file also can help identify trends for potential new products.”
Walsh advised diligent file maintenance to optimize the life of every record. When e-mails bounce, are changed or if a subscriber opts out, update them on the master file as well, she said.
Walsh also recommended being creative with credit requests: “Consider offering discounts if mailers return the undeliverable mail, phone or e-mail records. That helps keep your list [current] and it proves to your clients that you take list accuracy seriously,” she said.
One thing that has served DM2's Miller well, she said, is not relying on methods used in the past to sell lists today. “We try to think of the data as a valuable asset that people are trying to reach as an audience rather than just as a list,” she said. “Sometimes just talking about the list differently can help you market it to others.”
DM2 puts together a graphic profile report on records in its list for prospective customers showing how many names and addresses are available within the DM2 database that can serve that customer's same market.
Offering a variety of selections has served Fabricators and Manufacturers Association as well. Kim Clothier, director of audience development for its publications—which include The Fabricator,
Practical Welding Today and Tube & Pipe Journal—can break a list down into such categories as multibuyer, recency, job function, employee size, NAICS code and purchase authority.
Carmel McDonagh, VP-circulation at 1105 Media suggested that circulators work on a marketing plan with the list rental manager. She also said that confering regularly with adervertisers to understand their needs can help in finding new list solutions for them.
“One of our magazines, Washington Technology, unveils a Top 100 Government Contractor listing every year, which is a highly desirable target group for advertisers,” McDonagh said. The company data-mined information about those companies to create a Top 100 Government Contractor list across the whole 1105 Media database. “We were very successful in this project and now have a detailed e-mail, mail and phone datacard in our portfolio of this highly valued target,” she said. “If we were not synced up with editorial, a project like this would never have been on our radar.”
But the key to it all, DM2's Miller said, is quality. “Without that, you have nothing to sell,” she said. “And with it, you've got a strong business.” M