Bookspan develops different strategies for its Spanish book clubs

Bookspan, a direct marketer of general interest and specialty book clubs (co-owned by Time Warner and Bertelsmann), has adopted separate strategies for its two Spanish book clubs – Mosaico and Circulo de Lectores. The new marketing approach involves clearly differentiated direct mail strategies.

Up till now, both clubs have used very similar designs for direct mailings. Sources at Bookspan told Portada® that they want to increase their promotional effort for Circulo de Lectores, the smaller of the two clubs (approximately 45,000 active members). Circulo de Lectores was spun off from Mosaico in July 2004 to cater to Hispanic families. Circulo de Lectores' front piece will use the same “family oriented design” it used in its first campaign in June 2004 (see image on page 31). The new club runs mailings in February and June. Circulo de Lectores has book clubs (owned by Bertelsmann) in many Spanish-speaking countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Spain. “Forty-percent of US Hispanics are immigrants. Many of them will know about Circulo de Lectores from their home countries,” notes John Nicholson, director of new member advertising at Bookspan.

Mosaico, introduced in 2002, has 225,000 active members. It will be positioned as a Spanish-language book club with strong offerings in the Self-help, Spirituality, New age, Health, Sex and Eroticism categories. The club plans to change the design of its mail piece for future campaigns. A test mailing in October 2004 featured photographs of famous writers (Isabel Allende, Paulo Coelho, Jorge Ramos and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, see images on page 31). According to John Nicholson, director of new member advertising at Bookspan, it was very successful. The new design will be incorporated as the control piece in Mosaico's three 2005 mailings (April, September and December). The number of pieces mailed out will be “well over a million,” says Nicholson. Mosaico gets additional revenue through a limited number of third party package inserts into its mailings.

Nicholson points out that the lists that have worked so far in Mosaico's and Bookspan's direct mail campaigns are “response generated self-identified lists of Spanish-speakers.” Nicholson says that overlays have not been successful. While direct mail is the main subscriber acquisition method for both Spanish-language book clubs, Mosaico and Circulo de Lectores also advertise in other media. Print advertising, mostly through single-sheet inserts in magazines, is a common media buy. Mosaico has tested some English language publications like Latina and Hispanic Business, although most of its advertising is in Spanish-language magazines like People en español and Selecciones Readers' Digest. Circulo de Lectores has a more family oriented focus in its print advertising and runs ads in parenting publications such as Ser Padres.

DRTV is another subscriber acquisition tool used by both Mosaico and Circulo de Lectores. “We have advertised on Univision, Telemundo and Telefutura and the results were encouraging,” says Nicholson. Additionally, both book clubs buy package inserts in Hispanic specific programs.


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