List management firm brings business processes online

The Cornerstone Group of Companies has launched a service that will allow the owners of direct mail and subscriber lists to review user proposals, orders, current list use, list history and mail samples online.

Don Lange,

senior vice-president at Toronto-based Cornerstone, said Cornerstone List Management Online (CLMO) will mean an end the welter of paper between list owners and companies such as his.

“”It’s still kind of clunky out there,”” said Lange, citing the faxes, e-mails and regular mail he has had to use until now to conduct this part of his business.

Lange makes it clear that CLMO, launched Jan. 12, isn’t a way to come online and download data in some sort of highly secure environment. It is, he said, a streamlining of a system already in place that is based on paper and phone calls.

“”It’s an order traffic system to allow list owners, or any media owner really, to review the details of an order, the sample mail piece or insert piece of the proposed end user and to ensure that all of the privacy requirements are (found) in a single spot,”” Lange explains.

Cornerstone provides list owners with a link to a special Web site that gives them a review of the media they control, he said. So, for example, Lange said that if the publisher of Marketing Magazine were making list approvals he would see only orders that had come in for that publication.

List owners’ Web sites are created dynamically from the database at Cornerstone, said Lange. That allows the owners to decline any order which they think is unsuitable for their property. This “”decline”” then enters the Cornerstone database and is flagged as such.

All of Cornerstone’s list owners have bought into CLMO, says Lange, and early feedback suggests they all want more functionality built into the system. One Cornerstone employee worked on CLMO full time for about four months.

Lange hopes the system will generate more revenue for list owners and, as an additional benefit, increase commissions for his firm. “”We’ve really done it with clients in mind,”” says Lange.

Among the beta testers of CLMO were some of Canada’s best known corporate names, including Rogers Media, Columbia House, Readers Digest and Transcontinental Media (which publishes IT Business Pipeline). Readers Digest vice-president of marketing services, Peter Hajaly, said through a spokesperson from Montreal that it was too soon to comment, and suggested that he would be in a better position to assess CLMO in a month.

Tara Dockeray, owner of Fixed Address Marketing Inc. in Barrie, Ont., was unaware of CLMO, but greeted the news of its arrival enthusiastically.

Dockeray, a list broker and manager who works with Cornerstone, said she thinks CLMO will bring more list owners to Cornerstone. “”It’ll be added value for list owners. I hope Cornerstone might sell the product they have developed.””

Lange hasn’t given any thought to licensing CLMO and admits Cornerstone still has some tweaking and learning to do.

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