Rodale Grow, the custom content agency at Rodale, was shut down last week, sources tell Folio:. The decision is surprising given the resources publishers in general have put behind their marketing services divisions.
Initial word of the shutdown was passed to group executives on Monday, November 9. By the following Wednesday, at least six staffers from the business and marketing side of the operation were let go, according to sources. Although one source says there were likely more cuts, but couldn’t say exactly how many due to the overlapping nature of responsibilities on the content and creative side.
The source says Rodale Grow’s business had been going in the wrong direction for at least a couple years and that new business development had all but dried up, although there were plans being put into place to turn that around.
The remaining active clients, including Johns Hopkins, Sodexo and Whole Foods, were notified that same week that they’d need to take their business to a new firm.
It’s unclear whether Rodale plans to relaunch some kind of marketing services division or shift the business to the brand level, but there doesn’t appear to be any formal plans going forward.
A spokesperson provided this statement: “As we continue to transform from publisher to healthy living company, we made a strategic decision to focus on our core business and new areas of growth.”
At the Content Council's Pearl Awards this month, Rodale Grow took home three awards: a gold, two silvers and a bronze.
The decision to dissolve the group comes a month after it was announced that company president Scott Schulman would be stepping down and that Maria Rodale was returning to a more active role running the company.