One of the more difficult aspects of a list broker’s job is making sure the lists that have been ordered arrive at the service bureau on time, as ordered. Frequently, we see list orders that arrive on our desks with unrealistic due dates, and this causes problems for everyone involved in the execution of the circulation plan. It stresses the poor list managers, the list owners, the service bureau–even the printer. At each and every step, when pressure is applied to meet the deadline, errors can and will happen. The solution?
All parties to a circulation plan—the broker, the mailer, the service bureau and the representatives of the database alliance companies—must agree to the reverse timeline dates that are drawn up. We make a policy of getting the equivalent of everyone’s signature on the reverse timeline plan, and that way, if a task is not executed on time, as required, we know who dropped the ball. More important, adhering to the dates on the plan keeps the project on track and on time. To help manage the process we use our own simple chart, and its development over the years has helped many a mailer go from having an idea for a mailing to getting orders from a mailing. We believe that by helping to bring some order and responsibility to the process, we are providing a service that points to the expanded role of a successful broker in the 21st century. And at the end of the busy day, we all benefit from having adopted specific tasks and agreed-upon due dates.
Geoff Batrouney is executive vice president of Estee Marketing, a New Rochelle, NY-based list firm.