Direct Marketer of the Year Grolier's Dante Cirilli (3,801 wor
"As consumers' mailboxes have gotten fuller, we've had to become more intrusive in a way—use games, activities," says Vice President of Creative Glenn Peters, an 11-year veteran of the company. "We also do quite a bit of personalization on our mailings," he adds, but quickly points out: "If we use information—particularly the child's name—in a caring way, it's good for promotion."
Peters and his 22-person creative team are kept quite busy creating ads and mailing packages for the 12 to 15 products being marketed at any given time. "We typically have a control and a couple of tests for each of those, but not necessarily all in the mail at once and we don't necessarily test a new package each year for every product line," he explains, adding that 98 percent of all creative is done in-house.
All the creative testing and powerful offers are requirements of today's business environment, Peters says. "These days, we need a higher response to make direct mail work that we did a few years back due to higher postal and printing costs."
Variety In Content
It takes two to three years to launch a book club, including licensing, writing the books, creating a marketing campaign, testing, and finally rollout, according to Barbara Gregory, senior vice president and publisher.
Gregory says ideas for new product launches come from surveying Grolier's current customers, going to trade shows and watching for trends. "Marketing is the hub of control at Grolier, not product development," she admits. "I see my department as a service department. We look to see what will sell and then publish it."
Pointing to the historically slow roll-out time for new products, Gregory explains that in the past, coming up with the content—the licenses—often caused delays. Says Cirilli, "In the last couple of years, to fulfill this strategy, we've been going after licenses rather than waiting for them to come to us."