Posts Tagged ‘SRDS’

Harold Pratt Beats the Economy with NextMark and MIN

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Harold Pratt Harold Pratt, president of Pratt Direct Marketing, knows how to survive and thrive in a down economy. He’s discovered how to do more with less by exploiting NextMark and mIn. According to "Meet the Broker: Harold Pratt":

"I would say you can do a lot more," he says. "You can handle a lot more business with one or two people than you could back then and list searching is a lot easier today, using tools like NextMark and MIN than in the olden days of having to leaf through an SRDS (Standard Rate and Data Systems) directory."

Mr. Pratt knows that an inefficient back room operation will steal time and money from you every day. He’s implemented tools that enable him to spend more time delivering valuable insights and advice to clients and less time on “grunt work.” Now that’s smart business!

Am I wrong about SRDS sale to WPP?

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Earlier this week, I expressed concern about the SRDS sale to WPP as it relates to the list industry. I thought it would give WPP an unfair advantage. However, Direct Magazine published a story yesterday "WPP Acquisition of SRDS Leaves List Executives Underwhelmed" that expresses the industry sentiment that there is nothing to be concerned about.

This story's conclusion is based on three assumptions:

  1. SRDS and their mailing list services division are such an inconsequential "blip" (his word) in the huge WPP organization that they will not pay attention to nor capitalize on this rich source of data.
  2. Advertising agencies don't want to get involved with mailing list selections. They'd rather outsource this task to list brokers.
  3. Even if they did focus on it, advertising agencies don't know enough about lists and the list business to take away business from list brokers.

According to Geoff Batrouney at Estee List Marketing,

"I don’t think there’s anything unfair or threatening about it. If I was worried about WPP acquiring SRDS that would presuppose that agencies knew something about the list business, but they don’t."

Maybe I was wrong in thinking the SRDS sale gives WPP an unfair advantage. Do you think that lack of attention and expertise eliminates this risk?

SRDS sale gives WPP an unfair advantage

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

On Tuesday, Nielsen announced its intention to sell SRDS to WPP Group as part of a big asset swap agreement. Like many in the direct marketing industry, I am concerned about how this deal changes the competitive landscape.

This affects the direct marketing industry because SRDS provides a research system that is used for making mailing list purchasing decisions and formulating media plans. List managers use SRDS to promote their lists. List brokers and mailers use SRDS to make list selections.

WPP Group is a huge advertising agency holding company with an estimated 100,000 employees and £6.18 billion revenue in 2007. A big part of WPP's revenue is commissions from media purchases done by their stable of advertising agencies. It's a good strategy for WPP to buy SRDS because it will give them better insight into media purchases that happen outside of WPP. They can use SRDS' database to better calculate their market share and to develop laser-focused strategies to acquire the share they don't already own.

If I were a list broker, I'd be really nervous about this.

After all, list brokers compete with WPP agencies for their commissions (i.e. their livelihood). If WPP owns their list research system, it would provide WPP with powerful insights that enable them to steal the business away from list brokers and move those commissions to WPP agencies.

Imagine if your competitor could see all your research and proposals before you publish them. They would eat your lunch!

That's why we at NextMark fundamentally believe that anyone who owns such a system needs to be industry neutral. Our business model is predicated on independence and neutrality. In order for the industry to work efficiently, the industry's technology infrastructure must provide a level playing field. No competitor should own the "marketplace" or any part of it.

Don't you agree?

TGIF Advertising – Dip Into The Down Time

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

I'm so glad it's Friday! Is that just because you are ready to crash from a long week of problem solving and managing expectations? Or is Friday the only business day when you are able to carve out some time to do what you do best? After speaking with a few list brokers, I believe we've got something in common here.

"There is no better day than Friday when it comes to doing list research," according to Donna Belardi, President of Belardi/Ostroy. "I've been making new test recommendations for 20 years, and the best ones are created on the days with the least interruptions."

Rather than rely soley on insights from industry veterans, take a look at some recent results from the NextMark CTA program. Weekday_impressionsAs indicated in the following graph, there is little variation between business days in regards to the number of impressions. The coefficient of variation for impressions is only 10 percent. What does that mean? Simply stated, about 90 percent of the search activity is consistent throughout the week.

Therefore, it makes more sense to look at the number of firms who are advertising on a given weekday and target your audience when your message will stand out the best.

If you're wondering about click-through rates, then take a look at the next graph.Weekday_pageviews The number of data card pageviews, for the same list management advertising campaign, reflects a similar pattern. The coefficient of variation is a little higher at 12 percent, but that is insufficient to disprove the hypothesis that Friday's are not so bad after all. So what's the take-away in all of this? How should this affect my advertising decisions when the reality is that Monday through Friday are 'almost' (10 – 12 percent) equal in regards to reaching my target audience of list brokers?

Again, all you need to do is look at the when your competitors are advertising and promote your list titles on the days of the week when your message will stand out the best.

For some reason, list managers seem to prefer Wednesday for search engine marketing, at least with NextMark. Surprisingly, only a few have decided to avoid the traffic and stand out in the crowd. Weekday_competitionWhy would this be happening? Although we've consistently shared this message with list managers, we just recently ran the numbers to back it up. We wanted to wait until we had a valid test sample to do that properly. Now that we've quantified a few of our assumptions, it's time to spread the word.

List research is happening Monday through Friday with little variation, so spend your list marketing ad dollars wisely and take advantage of the open opportunities while they last. Based on this simple study, you might want test your next campaign on a Friday. I'm so confident that this will work for you that I'll guarantee it. If you sign up for NextMark's Contextually Targeted Advertising Program and do not get at least 1,000 top ranked impressions on at least one given Friday (holidays excluded), then I will personally send you a $100 gift card to T.G.I. Fridays. Either way, you'll be able to 'Dip Into The Down Time'.