Rourke: Important to manage data well

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Steve Rourke, group VP-general manager at DM2-Decisionmaker, the list arm of Reed Business Information, recently spoke with Media Business about how DM2 is faring in this economy, his approach to list management in the b-to-b world and a look ahead. MB: With the economy in decline, how is business at DM2? Rourke: We've had a solid year to date. E-mail rental is up higher than we originally expected. We also introduced new products and services last year and customers tested them. ...Our goal has always been how do we differentiate ourselves, and that becomes more important in tough times. Everyone has list rental. One of our goals was to increase the average price per order from each of our clients, and one way was to come up with new products. MB: Describe some new products and services. Rourke: We came up with a product that allows us to provide a detailed report of a customer's database and a way to enhance the database with additional information from our own databases. We'll add demographic information, for example. Because we are controlled circulation, we can tell you what types of products customers buy. We have richer demographic information. MB: What are your customers struggling with? Rourke: People are doing more marketing to their in-house database. The key problem is they have out-of-date information [or] incomplete information about that contact, or they don't have enough of the types of contacts they want to target in their database. They can either build Web sites and go to trade shows, for example, to build the database over time, or they can come to DM2 to add thousands of names instantly. MB: What are some things you are working on? Rourke: We are putting quality processes in place to evaluate data as it comes into our database. That way, we will have standards on quality. We will do that with a combination of people, process and technology. We have to evaluate the source files as they come into our database. We need people to check it, as well as the technology that automates that as much as possible. We have about 600 files that come in to us from the partners who provide us with data. MB: What are the trends in list industry? Rourke: The trend continues to go toward the e-mail list rental side. People are also doing more with telemarketing for lead generation, so we've seen an increase in rental of telemarketing lists. MB: What about the future? Rourke: We think there is a lot of opportunity in differentiation on a quality basis. ...We also look forward to working more closely with our customers, which might include additional database services like managing their databases and cleaning up their databases. -C.K.
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