New Advo CEO Plans New Growth Strategies

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Gary Mulloy, who takes over as CEO of mail marketer Advo next week, sees ad insertion and targeting technology and the addition of new industry categories as the keys to growth of its shared mail programs.

Mulloy, Advo's current president and chief operating officer, succeeds Robert Kamerschen as the company's chief executive. Kamerschen completes a 10-year tenure as CEO but will remain chairman indefinitely.

Advo, Windsor, CT, sends direct mail pieces containing inserts from multiple advertisers on a weekly basis to 60 million U.S. households through its Mailbox Values shared mail program and an additional 21 million households in the United States and Puerto Rico through its National Network Extension of mail facilities.

The 81 million mail pieces Advo sends are currently aimed at clusters of 3,500 households with similar characteristics that the company calls Advo Targeting Zones. Although they only have been in effect nationwide since last February, Mulloy wants to break those zones into smaller, more targeted clusters. This will require investment in additional data sources and the use of different modeling techniques. The 15,000 different package assortments the mailings are currently broken into will increase as more household variations are discovered. To maintain its weekly mailing schedule, Mulloy said much of the company's increase in technology spending will go to productivity enhancing insertion machinery and fulfillment software.

Another focus for Mulloy will be new product categories. Advo has set up divisions to service the financial services, telecommunications and utility industries this past year and will target additional industry groups in 1999. Industry specific shared mail runs counter to the cooperative mail concept of product category exclusivity, but Mulloy said most clients like having competitors in the same package.

The National Network Extension reaches areas of the country that Advo misses with its own mail facilities and according to Mulloy has limited growth potential.

"Certain parts of the country are only reachable through solo mail, the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Colorado outside Denver," he said. "Parts of the country will never economically be able to support shared mail, but there are some areas that can be tapped."

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