CAMPAIGN DIRECT: ON THE RECORD - Anne Gowan explains why she believes in the future of cut-price subscriptions. Caroline Marshall reports

Anne Gowan has been direct marketing manager at the Daily Telegraph since June 1996 when the paper started a concerted subscriptions drive. At the time, the Daily Telegraph was gradually losing sales to the Times, the price war was dragging on and it was feared that the Telegraph could dip under the magic million sales mark. As the tactic of lowering its cover price to compete with the Times had failed - Murdoch had simply cut more from the price of the Times - cut-price subscriptions was a solution that sounded watertight, if costly.

Anne Gowan has been direct marketing manager at the Daily Telegraph

since June 1996 when the paper started a concerted subscriptions drive.

At the time, the Daily Telegraph was gradually losing sales to the

Times, the price war was dragging on and it was feared that the

Telegraph could dip under the magic million sales mark. As the tactic of

lowering its cover price to compete with the Times had failed - Murdoch

had simply cut more from the price of the Times - cut-price

subscriptions was a solution that sounded watertight, if costly.



What’s your background?



I’ve been here since the beginning of the subs programme. Before that, I

was a consultant for two years, a trainer and consultant at the

Institute of Direct Marketing, and marketing manager at the Financial

Times.



What’s so great about newspapers?



I love the dynamics of the industry. It’s fast moving, the product has a

24-hour turnaround and swift reactions are necessary. Direct marketing

appeals to me because you can measure what you’re achieving.



How many are in your department?



It was just me when I joined! I drafted in others and, in the early

days, our agency, Richardson Pailin & Fallowes, played a supporting

role. But I wanted to grow the expertise in-house. Now there are seven

of us, two based at our call centre in Rickmansworth.



During the ABC row with News International last summer, your subs

strategy came in for heavy flak.



People said that the cost far outweighed the benefits, that the mail

shot targeting was anything but scientific and that loyal Telegraph

readers accounted for most subscriptions.



What’s your response?



Well, six months after we started it, News International launched its

own scheme. This is a long-term strategy for us - it’s taken the

volatility out of the market and addressed the problem of seasonal

sales. Our circulation across 1997 was an average of 1.132 million -the

highest it’s been for years.



When did you last respond to a piece of direct marketing?



I got a Harvey Nichols Chargecard last year, to get 10 per cent off in

the January sales.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).