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Second-time success

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At Wachovia Financial Security Network, Richmond, Va., some employees answer the phone with a cheerful, "It's a great day to go independent." The greeting is emblematic of a marketing strategy for Wachovia that focuses on recruiting successful stock brokers from the wire houses—Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and other venerable Wall Street firms—to "go independent" and to rely on Wachovia to handle the back office.

In 2001, Wachovia ran a $120,000 schedule of recruitment ads in Thomson Media Group's monthly On Wall Street. Last year, however, Wachovia discontinued its schedule, citing a lack of lead generation.

Beginning in June 2002, On Wall Street set about regaining Wachovia's business. The magazine struggled in 2002 as its revenue fell to $7.2 million from $8.5 million in 2001, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Nonetheless, its sales team believed that the publication should be on Wachovia's schedule.

The story of how On Wall Street not only regained Wachovia's business but also more than doubled its revenue from the account is a tale of simply listening to the customer and applying the principles of integrated marketing.

"I know it sounds like a sales pitch, but we try to be a partner that helps our clients improve their business," said Tom Fowler, executive group publisher at Thomson. "We go in trying to sell them much more than a page. We have so much more to offer."

Among the first things that On Wall Street did was show Wachovia how much it wanted the financial company's business. Led by Thomson Media Exec VP Bruce Morris, a delegation of the magazine's employees (from both the publishing and editorial sides) made the trek to Wachovia's Richmond offices. From this meeting and others with Wachovia, Thomson got the message: "They wanted names; they wanted leads," Fowler said.

Collaborating with Wachovia, Thomson developed a marketing plan that included print, online and events. First, Wachovia returned to On Wall Street with a 12-time schedule of full-page ads. These executions helped promote the online and face-to-face elements of the program.

On Wall Street Editor in Chief Evan Cooper created the Practice Management Institute, an online university sponsored by Wachovia to help brokers run their businesses more effectively. Clicking on the Wachovia logo on the PMI Web site takes the user to a microsite devoted to the appeal of becoming an independent broker.

The microsite includes testimonials from brokers who have opted to go independent. "I made a leap of fact, not a leap of faith," declares a former Merrill Lynch broker. Additionally, the microsite plugs the face-to-face events and Webinars.

Eight live seminars, which are titled "Wealth Through Wisdom," are scheduled at top-tier hotels across the country and are followed a week later by Webinars. Wachovia sponsors the live events and Webinars, both of which offer brokers tips on how to use their PCs and the Web to improve their businesses. The seminars have garnered about 50 registrants and the Webinars about 300 registrants.

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