Direct Marketer of the Year Grolier's Dante Cirilli (3,801 wor
The recent Barbie Book Club launch is an example of the new "go-out-and-get-em" strategy. Gregory says, "In the 0- to 5-year-old age groups, we are the leaders. But it was time to expand to older kids. We started promoting the card programs to get into the next age group. We then started looking at new license possibilities to go even older. Barbie and Nickelodeon are our first licensed entries into the new over 5-year-old market."
Following a successful direct mail test, Grolier officially launched the Barbie Book Club this past summer. Of the launch, Cirilli notes, "This new license represents a significant expansion of Grolier Direct Marketing's traditional consumer base, enabling us to reach girls up to 10 years old."
To create the Barbie Book Club products, Grolier split the work with Mattel:
"They monitor the doll and her voice. We create the storylines," Gregory notes.
Once a product is developed, Cirilli says, the good news is these are "evergreen products"—not trendy items that are in one year and out the next. That's evidenced by the longstanding relationships Grolier has had with some of its licensing partners; it has published Random House's Dr. Seuss books as part of its Beginner Readers Book club for 38 years.
Grolier Direct Marketing's other licensing deals are with Disney Publishing, Walt Disney Art Classics, Mattel, Children's Television Workshop, Nickelodeon and Performance Unlimited Inc.
Variety In Form
The final key of Cirilli's three-part plan for success is variety in form. After much success in book club programs, Grolier Direct Marketing began launching continuity card programs for family products. "This opened up an enormous door for us," he recalls. "This was a new form for us."
And while its focus is still on print products, Grolier has not let the Internet revolution pass it by. Grolier Direct Marketing promotes two CD-ROM programs: Interactive Kids, a club for children ages 3 to 6, featuring Living Book products developed by the Learning Company; and CornerStoneHome, an award-winning, basic skills teaching program for kids in grades 3 to 8.