Patricia Campbell loves "content." When a job at Barnesandnoble.com opened up, she jumped at the chance to promote the written word. It also gained her re-entry to the publishing world.
As VP-interactive and direct marketing at the Barnes & Noble unit, Ms. Campbell said, the position allows her to sell something she's passionate about. "If you can relate to the product, then you have a much better sense of what the consumer is going for," she said.
14 YEARS IN PUBLISHING
Ms. Campbell has spent 14 years of her 20-year career in magazine publishing, developing direct marketing programs for companies such as Time Inc. and Times Mirror Co.
For the past three years, Ms. Campbell had been out of the publishing circle; most recently she was senior VP for new-business development at Advanta, a financial services company, where she worked on the credit card business.
Her work there helped her learn everything she always wanted to know about segmentation.
"Success within the credit card world is predicated on understanding highly targeted customer segments and needs of those segments," she said.
What Barnesandnoble.com offered, Ms. Campbell said, was a chance to get back to her publishing roots.
In her new job, she is responsible for all direct marketing efforts to acquire customers offline and online. Her goal is to make sure the message that Barnesandnoble.com broadcasts to its customers is consistent with the marketer's general advertising.
"A lot of companies separate their direct marketing groups from their general advertising groups, and I think it's a big mistake," she said.
Ms. Campbell will work closely with her counterpart, VP-Brand Advertising John Rindlaub. In working together, she said, the two operations can take advantage of the effect of multiple messages on customer buying behavior.
"People buy a lot of books as gifts," Ms. Campbell noted. "If [John Rindlaub] is going to do a general promotion around Father's Day, I want to make sure I'm doing a lot of direct marketing around that--so that we can take advantage of holidays together."
A significant near-term goal will be to target segmented groups as potential customers for Barnesandnoble.com.
"It's using the classic forms of direct marketing and direct marketing sources to acquire customers," said Ms. Campbell.
That could take the form of banner ads, targeted e-mails, mailings, even direct-response TV.
At a time when everyone seems to be abuzz about her No. 1 competitor, Amazon.com, Ms. Campbell notes that retail bookselling giant Barnes & Noble has some advantages of its own.
"There's no question that Amazon.com is an incredible brand name," she said. However, she argued, Amazon.com doesn't have nearly as much inventory as Barnes & Noble.
She also noted that it's prudent to look in both directions.
"We need to look behind us as well as who's in front of us," she said. "I think marketers make the mistake of only looking at the competition in front of them."
Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.