Welcome to Broker Roundtable, where each week we ask list brokers to give their opinions on issues that matter to the marketing community. This week’s question: What’s the outlook for B-to-B list prices going forward?
Our panel includes Matt Kaiser of Veradata, Lori Kelly of DirectMail.com, Barbara Salles of Statlistics and Michele Volpe of Media Source Solutions. Would you like to be considered to be a member of our roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Matt Kaiser, executive vice president of Veradata:
Looking at the two main providers as a benchmark, DNB/InfoGroup, it sure would seem as if B-to-B list prices will only be going up—but that may be misleading. This space has been dominated by these two companies for a long time. In recent years, competitors have sprouted up and are pressuring prices but still not to the extent seen in the consumer list space. That said, these start ups are led by industry veterans who are compiling data using less expensive methods. While they may end up with files with less depth, the quantities of businesses are roughly the same. That means price competition is coming to the B-to-B compiled list world. My expectation is that B-to-B list prices must come down. At some point, companies like Database101 will put enough pressure on the two leaders to compete on price. The only question is when?
Lori Kelly, list manager/broker, DirectMail.com:
I receive daily messages regarding special, one-time discounts on lists. It is a sign of the times. While actual list pricing has not gone down yet, slight drops can be expected as competition increases and marketing dollars decline. In the past, clients only occasionally requested discounts or coupons. Now, they expect some form of a discount as the new “business as usual.” Still, marketers will always need sales, and sales require leads. List prices will depend on the law of supply and demand.
Barbara Salles, marketing director, Statlistics:
In general, we are seeing most list base prices holding, as compared to the rates we saw last year. In some markets and categories, there are opportunities to gain more revenue with targeted, market-specific lists. Another factor is the rising increase in selections – it is far more common to see tests now with specific job titles, company sizes, purchasing authority, and standard industrial classification (SIC) coding, among other selects. These additional selections do bring more fees to the order, so any base price fluctuations might be better viewed in light of these additional select fees.
Michele Volpe, vice president of sales and marketing, Media Source Solutions:
B-to-B list prices have been fluctuating due in part to the increase in the number of email/postal addresses being collected in a non-compiled fashion. The traditional sources of data collection for compiled files are still being employed. However, there is a growing supply of business names that are coming from direct response sources that provide a so-called “business card” degree of information. By this I mean each record is a snapshot of a traditional business card that would be handed out as a calling card with their full contact and company information. This includes their title and email address. As a result, mailers and emailers are able to achieve a more personal relationship with a business to business prospect.
On B-to-B files whose names are sourced from industry publications, books and newsletters, the universes are declining and publishers have been shutting their doors. This has contributed to a decline in the available universes for this type of data. Fortunately, I believe this gap is going to be able to be filled with data that is being collected on an individual level.