We do a lot of email marketing at Napier, and frequently rent publishers’ databases to supplement the existing databases held by our clients. In general it’s a pretty straightforward process, but recently we went through a shocking experience with one vendor.
This publisher has a specialist company to offer data – an apparently sensible move to save agencies and client dealing with the different publishing companies they own. Sadly the reality was anything but a pleasant experience. Turnaround for quotes was slower than we’ve have got if we went to the local publishing companies. They couldn’t put the quote into a single currency – apparently one rental had to be in pounds whilst the other rental had to be in Euros. And they claimed that there was no circulation overlap between the UK title and the pan-European titles they were offering. They later changed this to “very small overlap”, but then said they couldn’t de-dupe and didn’t have any access to the pan-European data. So presumably they had no idea of the overlap and were just saying whatever they thought would get the sale.
To make things even worse, we went though all of this to get a quote that was significantly higher than any of the other quotes we were offered for our client. Needless to say this publisher didn’t get the business!
Data is an important revenue source for many publishers, and if we follow the lead of industries such as IT it will only become more important. Publishers who can’t get it right will be walking away from sales: if clients can’t trust vendors of lists, they will not only choose other vendors, but as they perceive third-party lists offering less value, they will focus more of their effort – and budget – on building their in-house databases.