OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES: ALC
LIST MANAGEMENT 2006
THE CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES ALC
4300 U.S. Highway 1
Princeton, NJ 08543
OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES FOR 2006
"The outlook for 2006 presents many challenges but also tons of exciting opportunities for the list industry," according to Fran Green, President/Data Management at ALC. Among the challenges are the shrinking list universe, dropping response rates, the increasing cost to acquire a new customer, and, of course, looming privacy legislation. Among the opportunities, marketers are looking to list companies for more creative solutions in utilizing technology for better segmenting and refining of data products.
"At ALC, we're excited about 2006," says Green. "We've made a big investment in infrastructure, technological tools, research, and sophisticated analytics. Some of the new tools and strategies that we've put in place over the last several years have become very productive for us and for our clients. Our modeling, multiple enhancement sources, and sophisticated segmentation options are coming into play on both the acquisition and management sides of our business."
ALC realizes that the list business has expanded far beyond mere access to the data. "The marketplace has become a one-to-one environment," Green explains, "compared to years ago, when you could put out a client's datacard and marketers who wanted it would find it. Now, we're creating customized solutions that show specific marketers;in very specific terms;how the data that we represent can be employed and applied to meet a marketer's needs. Internally, we're trying to blur the lines between brokerage and management and, instead, taking a very holistic view of the ways in which we can help our clients. Because the process is integrated, we help our clients acquire new, profitable customers and leverage the value of those customers."
Similarly, ALC is encouraging its clients to "get smart" about their customers. "To reduce churn, the client really needs to be in touch with its customers in a granular way," she says, "so that the marketer can develop intimate customer relationships and become better at acquiring new customers that will remain loyal."
ALC is also urging its clients to embrace electronic media in a big way. "If you're not using email, you're missing the boat," says Green. Marketers;particularly those on the consumer side who recall the failures of email marketing several years ago;are not always trying to get every possible customer email address. Email is a cost-effective, relationship-building tool that should be part of any integrated CRM solution, "so," she says, "we're helping our clients understand e-mail as an integral part of the mix."
Green stresses that a list company needs a robust suite of tools to compete successfully in today's market. On its list management side, ALC offers modeling and additional segmentation on databases of significant size. "I don't think any list manager has a modeling group that does what we do or has embraced it to the level that we have," says Green. "And our in-house research division digs far deeper in terms of competitive intelligence and list information than the MIN, SRDS, or NextMark data on which most of our competitors rely."
Through its data-processing division, ALC improved its turnkey solution to help clients acquire new prospects and leverage their value by housing their data and helping them manipulate it in ways that show more about their customers and, thereby, lead to new strategies. "That's something we initiated more than two years ago," says Green, "and now it has become a very real benefit for our clients."
Further, ALC is looking at cooperative ventures among different data owners to create products that have new configurations and, in some cases, much larger universes than existed before. "That way," she says, "we can keep developing new data products. The marketplace needs them."
ALC's publisher clients include Meredith, Reader's Digest, Rodale, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Dow Jones, Belvoir Publications and many others.
List Management 2006 - Index
SPECIAL REPORT INDEX 12 TRENDS THAT ARE SHAPING THE LIST INDUSTRY 6 SOLUTIONS TO THE TOUGHEST LIST CHALLENGES OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES: ALC OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES: CLIENTLOGIC OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES: LAKE GROUP MEDIA OUTLOOK & STRATEGIES: STATLISTICS