There's been a fair amount of movement of business media lists in the past year, as publishers look for savvy list managers who can help them boost their revenue.
In July, Penton Media farmed out list management duties to MeritDirect. Previously, Penton managed its diversified industry and engineering titles in-house and outsourced its technology and business management titles.
"Our thought was that the list management firms specialize in the list business, while for Penton, we specialize in connecting buyers and sellers in print, in person and online," said David Nussbaum, CEO of Penton. "We decided to outsource the entire list business to a firm that would use all its institutional abilities, strategy and talent to boost list rental revenues."
Nussbaum said he was impressed with MeritDirect. "MeritDirect struck us as a forward-thinking firm, utilizing both excellent technology and high-quality talent, and their knowledge of our business was very impressive," he said.
Penton initially awarded MeritDirect its diversified industry and engineering titles. This year, MeritDirect won the balance of Penton's lists, totaling 1.6 million names.
BusinessWeek tapped MeritDirect in April to manage its subscriber lists, citing similar reasoning, and TechTarget awarded its list management to MeritDirect last month.
Jeff Moriarty, VP-list management for MeritDirect, said his role goes well beyond "putting a datacard on the system."
"You have to talk to the brokerage community, the agency community, to educate them but also determine what is in demand," Moriarty said. "I can bring that back to Advanstar [another Merit client], Penton and BusinessWeek. I don't just rent their lists. I am bringing feedback from the list-buying community."
Moriarty said it's important to talk intelligently to the list buying community about what is special about the files he manages. He is currently working with Penton and Advanstar on building a new e-mail acquisition model.
Ziff Davis Media in March awarded list management of 22 million names to Walter Karl, a list division of Donnelley Marketing and infoUSA. Previously, the files were managed by Worldata. Also in March, Walter Karl won list management responsibility for Primedia Business Magazines & Media's 3.2 million subscriber names, which Statlistics previously managed.
Walter Karl President Joann Kropp said that being part of a larger data organization is an advantage.
"The reason Ziff and Primedia moved to us is the other services we offer under our corporate umbrella," Kropp said. "[It] sets us apart and makes it more attractive to do business with Walter Karl." Those services include owning enhancement data through its infoUSA affiliation and e-mail deployment. Kropp stressed that list managers need to do more for clients than take orders and collect commissions.
"A company is just not going to make it marketing and selling lists the way they did in the '80s," she said.