CAMPAIGN DIRECT: ON THE RECORD: Glen Ward believes music is good for our health and wants to provide us with it direct

What is HMV Direct?

What is HMV Direct?

It’s a direct sell music service for cash-rich, time-poor

thirtysomething record buyers who can’t cope with music stores that

cater for 14- to 25-year-olds. We launched a year ago.

So you’re targeting Campaign readers then?

Absolutely. Why not drum up a bit of business?

Has this been your life’s ambition?

No, but music has been a bit of a crusade since I left my job as a

solicitor in 1980 to work as a sales assistant in Our Price. I worked my

way up the company and became head of marketing and buying a decade

later. Then I came here to do business development. I think music is

good for your health.

How did you come up with the idea?

Talking to people who listen to music a lot but hadn’t heard any of the

latest releases. I was fed up with lending them my CDs.

How does it work?

Customers call us on 0990-334578 and order what they want from the

world’s biggest music database of 300,000 items. Delivery is in seven

days - or two weeks if it’s an import - and there’s a charge of pounds

1.50 postage and packaging, no matter how many items you select.

You had a flash of cred there, but aren’t you just like any other Sunday

supplement record club?

No, because there is no requirement to buy. Like most people, I’ve

dabbled with such clubs myself and I know what they’re like. When I put

the business plan together for HMV Direct, I wanted to avoid the usual


How are you convincing customers of that?

We did some consumer press ads through RPE last autumn and have sent out

180,000 brochures, created by DRS Advertising, giving people a taste of

our catalogue. (A catalogue costs pounds 3.)

But what about the front-line staff?

Bored telephonists who don’t know Tom Waits from Tosca send the keenest

music lovers in-store. Actually, our 15 telephone staff were picked for

their product knowledge and telephone manner from 1,200 applicants. They

even had psychometric tests to see if they could sit in a call centre

all day without beating each other up and were trained by the L&R


We were named Telemarketing Champion 1997 at the Marketing Telemarketing

Awards last month, so we must have done something right.

OK, so you do attract customers, but how do you keep them?

Retention is a headache for most music clubs. Our research already shows

that 25 per cent of people who received our initial catalogue bought

something and 50 per cent of those became repeat customers, so we are


And, as we learn about our customers, we’ll send out targeted monthly

mailings. Last month, we launched a classical music brochure which sent

classical sales up from 12 per cent of our total to nearly 30 per


We also see opportunities for selling using digital TV and the Internet

in future.

I’m convinced. Put me down for the new Oasis album.

Fine. But may I also recommend Fountains of Wayne by Fountains of Wayne

or the new Ron Sexsmith album, which is like poppy Tim Hardin.

OK, but only if they’re press copies.

Glen Ward

Occupation Direct and general manager, HMV Direct

Age 40

Lives Pinner

Status Married, two kids

Salary ’Comfortable’


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