AOL jump-starts sales drive with marketing hires

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America Online's sales staff last week gained a much-needed boost with new hire Leo Scullin as VP-director of marketing services.

Previously president of consultancy Scullin Co., whose clients included AOL and Magazine Publishers of America, Mr. Scullin will support AOL's sales staff as it plans to more than double from 27 to 65 members by July.

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"Under my aegis is a full-fledged promotions marketing group," he said. "We'll handle targeted mailings by direct mail, conduct (on- and offline) events and provide the sales team with support," said Mr. Scullin, who will be based in New York and report to Myer Berlow, AOL's senior VP-ad sales, and work alongside Richard Barthelmes, AOL's director of interactive marketing.

Also new at AOL is Neil Davis, who was named VP-director of sales. He previously handled ad sales for AOL and WebCrawler when he was VP-general manager at Katz Millennium Marketing.

Last year, the ad community had complained both about AOL's lack of communication with agencies and limited sponsorship options. To remedy the situation, AOL introduced some banner ad opportunities sold to marketers on a cost per thousand basis.

The company this year is gearing up to sell pre-designed cross-service ad programs, including sponsorable chat areas and e-mail.


AOL is now installing new ad servers slated for operation in March. Once installation is complete, AOL will add programs for ad-supported chat.

"We're on the road to get to a 10% revenue stream" from advertising, Mr. Scullin said. AOL said it plans to make advertising eventually account for 30% of its revenue.

At the $1 billion company, a 10% revenue figure means $100 million in ad revenue, representing a sizable chunk of online ad dollars. Jupiter Communications predicts that advertising on the Web alone in 1997 may reach $1.1 billion.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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