Des Moines, Iowa

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

At a time when marketing and advertising budgets are being slashed, direct marketing efforts are getting a thumbs-up from the corner office. And at Meredith Corp., the Des Moines, Iowa publishing firm that always has been a direct response powerhouse, there's no lack of support for initiatives that can be tracked, measured and refined. Direct mail retention and acquisition efforts are the lifeblood of our businesses. Did Meredith Corp. optimize its direct marketing budget by identifying processes that could be made more efficient to contain costs or improve ROI?

No matter how much planning goes into a mail campaign, it all comes down to that do-or-die moment when a prospect brings the day's mail into the house and sorts through it. The latest efforts, no matter how well-planned, will either be tossed in the trash or saved, and even then, only some mailings will ever be opened.

No matter how much planning goes into a mail campaign, it all comes down to that do-or-die moment when a prospect brings the day's mail into the house and sorts through it. The latest efforts, no matter how well-planned, will either be tossed in the trash or saved, and even then, only some mailings will ever be opened.

Change is an inevitable precursor to growth. Amidst the corporate growing pains firms face when working to maintain company culture while embracing technology, remembering “what got us here” is a challenge. Looking at the big picture, marketing guru Philip Kotler says authentic marketing “is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to the customers, profits to the producers and benefits for the stakeholders.” For Des Moines, Iowa-based publishing dynasty Meredith Corp., creating solutions to satisfy customer needs involves using a decentralized approach to leveraging the housefile. It strives to achieve authentic marketing by focusing on long-term ROI with

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