Director of Consumer Circulation, Grand View Media
Through a hands-on, targeted approach, Shields has exceeded industry-standard return rates for direct mail and has increased subscription sales within a niche that has otherwise struggled through a tough economic climate.
Twice within his five-year tenure at Grand View Media, Kevin Shields has been honored for â€śdoing the most with the least resources.â€ť Hailing from the newspaper world, Shields joined the company and inherited all circulation responsibilities for five magazine titles and two annual books in the hunting and fishing industry, with a mix of paid and controlled models. His goal from the start was to reach 100 percent paid. But perhaps his greatest feats have been in the area of direct mail: His campaigns average a 4-5 percent return, at times reaching up to 10 percent, which is well above the industry standard.
â€śWeâ€™re using the old-school things, like direct mail, that people say are dead, and weâ€™re just killing it,â€ť says Shields. Much of this success, he adds, is due to a high level of focus: â€śWe donâ€™t care about the next 100 sales, we care about the next one. Sometimes people lose sight of the fact that every dollar we bring in is a dollar we did not have.â€ť
This focus is centered on the quality of the listâ€”â€śWho you send it to is far more important than the creativity of the design,â€ť he says, adding that direct mail unduly gets a bad reputation for effectiveness because â€śpeople who are designing direct mail pieces want to win design awards instead of getting an extra percent of return.â€ť
Shieldsâ€™s work has grown agency sales by more than 400 percent, with subscription card sales rising more than 100 percent. Newsstand sales have maintained levels through the economic downturn through a strategy that drills down to the individual store level to uncover potential sales opportunities.
Shields values a hands-on approach: â€śWhen you have your hands on every single detail, youâ€™re going to be more successful because any small problem you see you can nip in the bud before it becomes a big problem.â€ť
VITAL STATS: Shieldsâ€™s direct mail campaigns average a 4-5 percent return rate, reaching up to 10 percent at times. He has increased agency and subscription card sales by more than 400 and 100 percent respectively.