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A Thing The Green Sheet Issue 011102-
Issue 011102-
Table of Contents

Green Sheet Names Board Members

Cash In On Financial Professionals' Knowledge

Givex Launches Gift Card Product

New Payment Product from RichSolutions

Global eTelecom Points to Infrared Future

From Rates to Riches

Profitability Behind the Promises

Off the Beaten Payment Path

Color Us Wireless

Look, America, No Wires!

Do Unto Others

Show Us Your Tele-Smile


Lead Story:

Reaching the Right People, in the Right Way

W e have had more than 18 years of meeting ISO needs, providing free services and answering endless industry questions.

Over this period, we have found that more and more of our readers use The Green Sheet's online capabilities, with more than 16,000 hits per day (502,695 in October 2001) and 3,344 unique page views per day (103,689 in October 2001).

In addition, The Green Sheet in its paper format has a subscription database with 18 years of history and more than 20,000 records, and we mail to more than half of the base monthly, either from our mailing house or in bulk.

This means that anyone in the industry can reach us anytime they like, and they do. In fact, because of Visa and MasterCard registration requirements, many bankcard salespeople are secretive and choose to fly under the radar.

One of the endless questions that we have received from advertisers is, "How many ISO/MSPs are there in the U.S.?" Two things make this question hard to answer. The first is that there is no clear definition of what an ISO/MSP actually is.

In fact, from some viewpoints, the correct answer is completely bankcard- centric. If it is any organization involved in bankcard acquiring that is not a bank, then First Data and Cardservice International are both ISOs, and they have thousands of employees.

From another vantage point, however, Heartland Payment Systems and Lynk are both undisputedly ISOs, and they also have a thousand employees.

Others would say an ISO/MSP is anyone selling anything in the industry. This is true because within the industry there are also thousands of salespeople selling check services and other services, exclusive of bankcard services.

So when the how-many-ISOs question is asked, the underlying question is, "Will any of these individuals respond to an ad or service offering when their programs are predefined by their employers?"

One other way to address the question of the number of people working in the industry, versus a selling ISO, is to look at the success that the ETA has had in reaching the ISO. When you use the ETA's 2001 Membership Directory as a measuring stick, you find that less than 30% of its members are actually ISOs (if you are a member, count them for yourself).

What this means is that organizations that use ISOs/MSPs and sell products and services to them outnumber them more than three to one, and these numbers are even worse when the registered numbers with Visa and MasterCard are used against total industry size.

The next issue is that turnover is high in the industry, and mailing to ISOs doesn't necessarily mean you reach them. The fact is that, unfortunately, only a small number of ISOs update their addresses as they move. Mail forwarding helps, but many leave the industry and simply throw away anything mailed to them.

The Green Sheet always has focused its efforts on the sales professional selling in the marketplace and always has had the timeliest information in the industry.

We continue to reach the market 28 times a year, more than twice that of any other publication, and we actually have a point of view rather than adopting the generic infomercial style of totally commercial publications.

In short, we reach the right people in the right way.

We also think that we have created the right economic mix for our advertisers - meaning that we also think that we have the right cost for the right industry reach. To do this, we have continued to use The Green Sheet as our primary information source.

This is because we can produce it in a timely fashion, getting most news and information to the street within two weeks rather than an eight-week lead time or longer, which is common among our competitors.

It also means that, in this format, an advertiser's ad campaign can be more specific to the current market, change directions on a dime, and keep the cost as low as possible. Our Green Sheet rates are less than one-third the cost of our competition in half-page formats and less than one-fourth the costs of our competitor's full-page ads, and we get to the market twice as often.

Of course, the comeback to this point is that this is the difference in black-and-white ads versus full color ads, but that is also a choice that we made from the very beginning.

While we produce ads for some of the largest companies in the U.S. - J.P. Morgan Chase, First Data and many others - we have designed our ad program to meet the needs of small organizations that need to reach the market economically.

By having a black-and-white ad in an all-green newsletter (magazine), no one's ad is diminished in look, even when compared to more robust advertising budgets. In fact, with 24 issues a year and a message to the target audience twice a month, it is a very effective and economic vehicle.

While our efforts are focused on cost and efficiency, we also produce a color product with our GSQ magazine to meet any advertiser's needs. Our cost in this venue also is less expensive than our competition, and we will be increasing the number of GSQ issues in 2002 - we think that we can address in-depth many pressing and new subjects with this expansion.

While we know from previous surveys that The Green Sheet is circulated by the addressee to an average of four other readers, we want to be sure that everyone who is reading it receives their own paper copy, if they want one.

We already do bulk mailing to a number of organizations, and we want all readers to know that this is an option for your organization to consider.

Please watch for many more changes from us. Our Web site is growing, our content continues to focus on your questions and needs, and we continue to expand our efforts. In fact, you soon will see each Green Sheet in both the word searchable format that we have always had, with more than 5 million words currently searchable, and a full PDF format of each and every issue, including all advertising in perpetuity - creating even more value for our advertisers, who support our efforts to bring you the best "free" resources in the industry.

Finally, we look forward to working with the strong industry representation that we have been fortunate enough to gather in our new Advisory Board (see Page 9). Each Advisory Board member has volunteered to work with The Green Sheet to give back a portion of their time to those working as sales professionals in the payment services industry.

Our objective continues to be simple: Get the right stuff, to the right people, in the right way.

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