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Building List Revenue



By Matt Kinsman
03/06/2007

Generating list revenue is more of a priority than ever as the number of potential clients driven by print, online and events increases. Deb Goldstein, president of IDG List Services, talks about generating list revenue in the new publishing environment. "It's already a real revenue generator, it always has been," she says. "Publishing companies very much value the profit that list rentals bring to the bottom line. Trust me, the importance for us to deliver on our numbers is always very significant, because they look at this as very profitable revenue."

  1. Expand internal contacts. "The first thing you have to do is stay very close to the audience development and circulation people, but also branch out into all aspects of publishing, even online and events, so you know what's happening throughout the publishing model. That enables you to know every place possible where there's audience development and names being captured."
  2. Protect data assets. "I've been at IDG for 21 years. IDG was the first company to do direct response e-mail in terms of direct request, permission-based e-mail marketing, and that was 10 years ago. What I'm always trying to do is leverage all of the very valuable lists and data assets that IDG is so rich in to monetize it for profit for the company. You have to protect it as an asset. There's a balance there."
  3. Develop new tools for new media. "Publishing companies now are print, online and events. That opens up a lot of opportunity with what I can do to have more names on the market with expanded data, and finding more ways to be creative to have our names out in the marketplace. The best tool, and I know this sounds really hokey, is communication. Being a business unit president at IDG, I'm part of the communication that happens from an executive management perspective and that gives me a great viewpoint to know what's happening at the company and take advantage of the opportunities."
  4. Understand the different value proposition of each source. "People at events are knowledge-seeking. They go and they participate in face-to-face events to gain knowledge in their marketplace and better themselves as professionals. That person has a different value proposition versus someone who is very active online or is a longtime print subscriber in terms of what we know about them, their buying power and their decision-making ability. Position them differently from a list rental perspective. They're different because they're choosing different portals to get their technology knowledge in the marketplace. If someone combines all of the channels and attends an event and is a subscriber and takes other actions, that person has another whole positioning value and is a higher knowledge seeker."
  5. Data development is a two-way street. "We're just like any other list company. I think it's a two-way street: It has to work both ways. The list manager has to be assertive and aggressive in making sure they're really knowledgeable about everything that's happening at the publishing company, and vice versa. The more involved a publisher, or national sales manager, or president, is with the list manager, the more readily they will be able to recognize their ability as another sales channel. That's how you maximize the opportunity. That works very well at IDG but it varies at other publishing companies. The more involvement from both sides, the better the outcome."
  6. Act like a data-intelligence company. "One of the things we're doing at IDG List Services is evolving and repositioning ourselves not just as a list company but as a data-intelligence company. I think that is one of the key aspects. It's not just about putting names and addresses on the market, it's much more about having to take advantage of data and lead generation in order to best serve the customer. That's the forward thinking that has to happen for list managers working with publishers.

"Lead generation is very different from list rental. It's a cost-per-lead model rather than cost-per-rental model. But IDG List Services is still an important sales channel for lead generation. There's a unit here called IDG Connect, which is selling cost-per-lead programs, and just like the other publications (and because we're working with a lot of small and emerging companies), they need high-quality leads. So we serve as a sales channel for IDG Connect.

"That's an example of being much more embedded in the knowledge of the company in order to create the most revenue as another very essential sales partner in the media mix. That's important because list-management companies and list-rental services are moving beyond just being a list company for publishing companies."

By Matt Kinsman
03/06/2007







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