Imagine how much less expensive it could be to market subscriptions if all of these databases could be merged, searched and tapped routinely for marketing purposes. Think of the new products that could be developed for subsets of the databases and the increased revenue that could be generated by renting or selling the data.
Some media companies have made great strides in this area. CMP Media, working with Hallmark Fulfillment systems, has developed several products using merged databases, and BusinessWeek recently launched a small-business quarterly using more than 500,000 subscribers from the entire McGraw-Hill database.
My advice to all of us is that we learn more about what we do and don't have in our databases and find a way to build a true CRM system that goes beyond what's needed to satisfy circulation audit and basic sales call needs. It's time for all of us to become true marketers.
Bob Felsenthal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.