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How to Improve the List Acquisition Process

by Maria Dailey February 28, 2013
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In a tough economy and competitive media marketplace, list managers are getting squeezed on more than margins. Every good list manager is not only committed to meeting their revenue goals, but also to protecting the integrity of their client's data. In recent years, this has become an even greater challenge due to elaborate special instructions brokers now include on their list orders.

It's vital for list managers to view each purchase order as a written contract, because the data provided will be held to the terms outlined. Unfortunately, these special instructions can add multiple pages to list rental purchase orders and can result in significant order processing delays.

Additionally, client specific instructions are also being included within the standard instructions. These customized instructions, often cloaked with industry verbiage, can be interpreted in different ways and can even include hidden stipulations on how the data will be used — let the list owner beware! Brokers also will adjust pricing or net name arrangements within these special instructions, expecting list managers to honor these hidden adjustments when the order is invoiced.

Most pricing and net name arrangements would require list owner approval, because they directly affect the amount of revenue generated from the order. While managers appreciate that is a good idea to negotiate brokerage pricing arrangements, obtaining list owner approval usually takes more time than what is given to process the order. Although, managers will do whatever they can to prevent a cancelled order, they need to comply with restrictions from their list owner clients. Most brokers are aware of this predicament, and may use it as a tactic to get these special arrangements pushed through.

List managers have reacted by using management order confirmations. Brokers will see their elaborate conditions being thrown back at them: "Mailer will be having a custom model built by a 3rd party using responders and non-responders to this mailing. This is non-list specific and source of names is not known. Names are supplied as part of the mail file only.  Actual modeling is only done to the 3rd party private names based on the responders to this mailing." Most require a signature or verbal approval from the list owner to move forward processing the order.

Some managers have integrated these order confirmations into their workflow because they have been "burned in the past" for overlooking hidden arrangements. Not only does this back and forth, passive-aggressive line of communication put a strain on manager/broker relationships, but it also holds up the processing of orders. With digital media receiving a greater share of the direct marketer's wallet, it's increasingly important to remove any friction in the traditional list acquisition process.

 
 
 

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