Circ hires must have multichannel skills

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Industry changes have prompted circulation executives to alter the way they hire. The days of employing someone whose strongest skill is an ability to handle BPA forms for a print product are long gone.

The advent of multichannel marketing is forcing job seekers to hone new skills now necessary in the world of audience marketing, said Joy Puzzo, corporate circulation director at Advanstar Communications.

Over the past few years, changes in demands, strategies and needs have forced Puzzo to adjust and hire additional talent in her department even as other departments lose personnel. Circulation is now geared toward audience development and focuses on the long-term future of products; it provides recommendations to the publishing team on how to use data to drive business effectively, she said.

"We have now become partners with the publishing teams—advertising, marketing, editorial, production, finance—and we need to have the skills to present to these teams and provide them with constant options," Puzzo said. Circulators must have the ability to compare subscribers of print, digital, e-newsletter and Web site products to determine trends, she said.

While circ jobs are much more broadly defined today, they are still about audience development—just for many more products, said Gloria Adams, director of corporate audience development at PennWell Publishing.

Christine Oldenbrook, director of marketing and e-media at Bobit Business Media, said she doesn't care if new employees know the first thing about BPA or USPS. "We're hiring right now, and I told the hiring manager that I don't want someone with traditional circ experience," she said.

Oldenbrook removed all references to distribution, circulation and renewals from the job ad. "It should all be about marketing: customer acquisition, customer retention, Web analytics, on- and offline marketing and multichannel marketing," she said. "B-to-b circulation people can't use the same terms they used to. They need to be [using] marketing terms."

Jerry Okabe, VP-audience marketing/ circulation at Penton Media, said his search for new hires isn't very different from years past. He wants someone who is bright and willing to learn. "We are doing more with e-mail marketing and online products like e-newsletters, so that experience is also helpful," he said.

Adams said her biggest challenge is to find someone with Web experience. "I don't want programmers, but it is very helpful to have people that know the Internet well."

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