Live from the MeritDirect Co-Op: Libey Says…

White Plains, NY–Not even the hotel fire alarm could stop Don Libey from analyzing the major issues of the day and prognosticating regarding what’s ahead during his keynote address at the Sixth Annual MeritDirect Business Mailer’s Co-op and Interactive Marketing Conference here on July 14.

As Libey got to talking about China’s influence on product sourcing, the fire alarm sounded. Attendees filed out of the ballroom, then five minutes later, once the alarm was determined to be false, filed back in. Without missing a beat, Libey continued, “As I was saying…”

From there, Libey discussed the preponderance of private equity money coming into the marketplace. “The days of private ownership are over. It used to be where catalogers would concentrate on growth over time. Not anymore,” he said.

Steady growth rates and the infrastructure built by direct marketers to accommodate e-commerce have made catalog companies attractive to investors. “They like us,” Libey boomed. “Now private equity companies, such as Linsalata Capital and Riverside Capital, buy companies and sell them in three to five years.”

But not everything Libey talked about was rosy. When it came to a slide he termed “third-partying,” in which he lumped together outsourcing, affiliate marketing, and pay-per-click marketing, he warned, “We’re getting further and further away from the end customer.”

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