Len Roberto, director of audience strategy at UBM Canon, spoke to Media Business about how new list demands are forcing publishers to offer clients supplementary marketing services.
Media Business: What new demands are list customers asking of you?
Len Roberto: Instead of clients just buying a print page or Web banner, we're seeing a lot more interest in the use of our entire database for very targeted email messages. Sometimes they'll use multiple email messages, and other times point to white papers for lead-gen purposes. But some customers are so far down the totem pole in terms of sophistication that we have to tell them they won't have success if they limit themselves to this or that. We're very much into a consultative mode.
MB: Tell us a little about your consultative services?
Roberto: Currently, we don't have an in-house agency where we might, for example, build out a customer's Web page for them. We'll just take the initiative with the rep or client, telling him, for example, that the results of previous email campaigns just like this one were poor. We can't force the client to change; but we can do little things, and most of the time they say yes and will change a landing page, message or offer.
We had an email campaign last week with a huge number of opens but only a handful of people clicking through. So obviously something interested them to begin with, but something didn't resonate after that. We try to work with the client to understand these kinds of things.
MB: How do you coordinate with your list-management company?
Roberto: Our list manager, Statlistics, handles the first level of people, the one-shot customers who want to address certain segments from our database. The people we handle are those who have been clients for many years and are looking for the next level of service. They want to go further, and we'll work even more closely with them to reach, say, just these specific 50 companies and their appropriate contacts. We'll spend a lot of time with them crafting these kinds of lists.
MB: Just 50 companies? How do you position yourself against the quantity of names offered by the list aggregators?
Roberto: We just conducted a reader panel in February, and asked them much the same thing. They said that these aggregated lists offer too many contacts for them, that they don't want 10,000 hits, they might just want 20 companies to target. They said they trust us because of our history, our brand name and that we cover a particular industry. Of course, in other cases many clients still want quantity.
It's the age-old question of comparing BPA statements and clients wanting to go with the bigger numbers. Circulation audits have always been where you suspend disbelief, because they're just audits of recipients, not readers. But digitally, you can validate much more.
MB: How are you using analytics in perfecting your response lists?
Roberto: We work with our newsletter subscribers, trade show attendees and the like to include in our segmenting. We use Omniture for our Web analytics. And we're in a good situation in that all our fulfillment, email and databases are with one company, Knowledge Marketing, which helps us with behavioral tracking.