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the interests of the catalogue industry. It went on to become a strong lobby group on all issues of interest to catalogue retailers. Formed with the specific objective of promoting close co-operation and sharing of best practice between catalogue publishers, the original desire to promote data swaps as a cost-effective means of sourcing prospect data underpinned the f ledgling association. The Catalogue Exchange was later renamed the Direct Commerce Association, to ref lect the growing importance of the web as a channel for all direct retailers.


Why might I want to consider data swaps and how should I go about it? Apart from the obvious advantage that data swaps cost much less than any other source of prospect data, the


swap process is transparent. Unlike prospect data supplied by the co-ops, you get to know which selection parameters work on each partner’s list. At Scotts & Co., we find that our best data swaps out- perform the top segments of co-op multi buyers – perhaps because we are able to identify a clear affinity between our brands and the customers of our chosen partner brands.


The mechanism for arranging swaps adopted by most catalogue retailers is to approach one of the three industry brokers who specialise in such swaps. For a fee of between £10 per ‘000 and £30 per ‘000, agencies such as Mokrynski, Accent Direct Marketing or Black Kite Media will propose and manage a programme of data swaps with any one of the 25 or so catalogue sector


homeofdirectcommerce.com | Direct Commerce


operators who engage in swap arrangements. There are plenty of other advantages though to using a broker:


• A broker is aware of all of the active buyer lists that are available and will often share their experience of how responsive an individual file has been for their clients.


• A broker is a one-stop shop. If you are swapping data with 5 or ten different data owners, it can generate a fair amount of administration. It can also be a bit of a headache to keep track of swap balances - how much data does your swap partner owe you or vice versa.


• A broker is in a position to ensure that your data swap partner is fully compliant with the terms of the GDPR. Continues overleaf >


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