Bill Gates keeps framed copies in his office, President Clinton is a regular reader, and it can be found in the anterooms--and on the computer screens--of investment bankers from New York to New Delhi. It's The Economist, and now, through its Web site, it's become an e-mail direct marketing asset of 24/7 Media Inc.
24/7 Mail, the direct mail unit of New York-based 24/7 Media, closed a deal with Economist.com to be the exclusive manager of the Web site's international, opt-in e-mail list. The pact is a boon for 24/7 Mail, which is on a mission to make itself the top global e-mail marketing manager.The list, which contains more than 250,000 names of registered Economist.com users, is the most significant that 24/7 mail has taken on since it began its global expansion late last year. The deal widens the gap between itself and other list managers in Europe, where e-mail marketing is starting to take off.
Economist.com's list is loaded with high-end executives, many of whom oversee their company's Internet strategies. "It's a marquee list," said Michael Rowsom, 24/7 Mail's senior VP and general manager. "These guys are a responsive group. They are opinion leaders."
Marketing industry observers agreed. "The Economist's kind of reader is the type every type of b-to-b marketer is trying to market to," said Frank Cutitta, managing director-global solutions at IDG Global Solutions-North America. "In terms of the quality of the people it represents, it's a pretty big deal."
This marks the first time that Economist.com has hired out its international list. "For the first time we've got a critical mass of people outside of the U.S. and Canada," said Paul Rossi, commercial director of the New York-based unit of The Economist Group, London. The Lake Group manages Economist.com's U.S./Canada opt-in e-mail list of 120,000 names.
24/7 Mail will charge $350 CPM for the list and will share royalties with Economist.com each time a list is sold. Rowsom declined to supply the breakdown of the split.
Global ambitionsThe Economist.com deal comes as 24/7 Mail is opening offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam; the unit is offering list brokerage and database management services in Europe and the U.K.
The speed with which 24/7 Mail's global expansion is happening is striking. The unit only launched in early 1999.
While the Economist.com list only contains names from outside the U.S. and Canada, Rowsom predicted most renters will be U.S. companies. The most interest so far has been directed toward Europe, primarily from U.S. business publishers, Rowsom said. "A lot of U.S. direct marketing dollars are over there," he said.
About 40% of 24/7 Mail's international business is generated from U.S. companies seeking lists.
Economist.com's publishers want their e-mail list to be handled with discretion, something they are confident 24/7 can accomplish, Rossi said.
"We made a decision not to use this list blindly. The accusation of spam is something we're very aware of," he said. "I'm not going to send them something for a dollar off at McDonald's, but I would send them something on an e-commerce seminar."
24/7 Mail preserves the list's sanctity by not handing it over to renters. All messages are given to the unit and approved by Economist.com before being sent out. Recipients are given a chance to opt out before opening a message. "We want to make money," Rossi said. "But we realize it's sometimes better to have a happy customer than a dollar."
Rossi said the list's breadth--with names from 163 countries--is reason enough for any globally minded marketer to consider it.
The people on the list have an average household income of $103,000; 68% of them are senior or middle managers, and 50% work in organizations of 500 people or more. Most access Economist.com from work, and 57% are consultants or bankers.