LIST MANAGEMENT 2006;THE CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES
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OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES FOR 2006
Based on all the indicators provided by his sales force, John Papalia, president and CEO of Statlistics, expects 2006 to be better than 2005. "We’re looking forward to continued growth in ’06," he says, "and to continuing to provide our clients with outstanding visibility, responsive service, and state-of-the-art technology."
While not predicting a huge upturn (or downturn) in the coming year, Papalia’s positive viewpoint reflects that of his clients. "Many have had a good second half of the year," he notes. "And while everyone must be very careful in today’s economy, I think we’ll all do better next year." For Statlistics, that means focusing on its core strengths ;the financial, building and construction, electronics, lifestyle, real estate, and human resource markets.
That focus doesn’t represent a change in strategy for Statlistics. "We will continue to grow by budgeting carefully," says Papalia, "and by being very careful with all the privacy issues, remaining as responsive and as proactive as possible, and making sure that the bulk of our efforts are aimed at client services. We know we can’t do everything for everybody, so we try to selectively grow our business in areas where we know we can help the client."
One of the client strategies that Statlistics plans to emphasize in the coming year is communications. "We would like our clients to involve us more in the planning stages;in their big picture," explains Papalia. "Over the past ten years, we’ve developed a successful partnership approach for dealing with our clients, rather than simply acting as their vendor. Statlistics is neither the biggest nor the most flamboyant list company, but we do have strong relationships with our clients. We try to understand their needs and work with them to find solutions." That must be working, because most of Statlistics’ clients have been with the company for many years.
All list companies face challenges going into a new year and have concerns about maximizing their clients’ revenues and results. "We also have to maximize our own performance in terms of both profitability and productivity," Papalia observes, "but I think the shrinking universe and corresponding decline in response rates will be a major challenge next year. We all need to do more with less."
As for marketing strategies, most list management companies will agree that direct mail is having a bit of a renaissance, but email;while not a substitute for direct mail;has definitely become an important part of the mix. "We’re doing more in the multi-channel marketing segment," says Papalia, "where clients are doing both direct mail and email. We also help our clients with space ads, fax, face-to-face, and telemarketing efforts. Today’s marketers really have to enlist all different elements to correctly address their needs."
Papalia further feels that Statlistics stands apart from its competition by the way the company provides its clients with maximum exposure. By that he means promoting the client at the expense of Statlistics itself. "At our trade shows," he says, "we don’t advertise much about Statlistics. Our booth, for example, is all about our clients. And our space ads are all about our clients. We try to promote our clients in as many ways as we can. That not only sets us apart, I honestly believe that has helped Statlistics grow over the years."
One final thought: "Our sales force is very proactive," Papalia says. "I learned a long time ago that you can’t just sit back and wait for the business to come to you."
Statlistic’s top clients include Hanley Wood, Pennwell Publishing, Investors Business Daily, IEEE, National Underwriter Company, and Institutional Investor.
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