Welcome to Broker’s Roundtable, a new weekly feature in Direct Listline. Every month, we’ll select a different panel of list brokerage professionals. Then each week for that month, they’ll tackle questions about pertinent industry issues and offer tips for mailers.
Our panel features Claire Carpenter of Carney Direct, Amy Benicewicz of ListBargains.com, Paul Kolars of Trimax Direct and Mark Hammar of Total Data Solutions. (Would you like to be considered to be a member of our Roundtable? Contact Larry Riggs at
This week’s question: Is mail date protection is still an important consideration for mailers?
Take it away, brokers:
CLAIRE CARPENTER, LIST BROKER, CARNEY DIRECT:
Maildate protection is always going to be an important factor for mailers that are in direct competition, especially in our current economic state. However, I believe the more important questions to be asked moving forward are the length of time in which mail date protection is needed and what are mailers currently offering to keep their clients, prospects and donors loyal to them.
Moving forward, mailers are still going to request a block out date for direct competitor’s offers. But I believe the time frame will be shortened to two to five “in-house” days and the onus of capturing a new prospect is going to fall on the mailer’s offer, price points, customer service and discounts being offered more than in the past. Blackout dates were important years ago because customers based on accessibility, rather than loyalty. Now, customers are looking for the best deals from businesses they already trust. And even nonprofit donors who in the past gave to several organizations are now only giving to charities that they consider to be doing the most with their dollars.
AMY BENICEWICZ, PRESIDENT, LISTBARGAINS.COM:
Mail date protection is requested by a choice few categories of mailers, including catalogers, fundraisers and telemarketers. There are two types of mail date protection. One is for list owners to restrict use of their customer or donor base during times they are doing their own mailings. Another is when a mailer or telemarketer rents an outside list and requests that no competitive offers mail or call within a few weeks before or after their campaign.
It is really up to a list owner and their own comfort level as to whether they restrict certain mail dates or not. The argument can be made that in today’s multichannel world, restricting a mail date may not prevent someone from reaching your customers through other methods. Also, people interested in a niche category like gardening will likely be on a myriad of lists and databases, so competitors might reach your customer through other list rentals. You should also consider that mail dates and in-home dates can be quite different, giving a list owner a false sense of security when blocking our certain mail dates from outside offers to their list.
PAUL KOLARS, PARTNER, TRIMAX DIRECT:
I rarely get asked by clients to ‘protect’ a mail date on a given list, and on the lists we manage we rarely are asked to protect a mail date. I’m doubtful that many list owners/managers would turn away business based on similar mail dates and, with many of the major catalogers accessing cooperative databases for their list pulls I don’t sense that mail date protection is as big of an issue as it may have been previously.
MARK HAMMAR, PRESIDENT, TOTAL DATA SOLUTIONS:
Although this is not really an issue for most lists, donor files continue to take these dates into consideration. Some donor files might even consider pulling their list from the market if they were not able to have this option, which I think will be worse.
Would you like to be part of a future Broker’s Roundtable? E-mail email@example.com