Bose Moves DM Base Inhouse

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Global audio technology giant, Bose Corp., Framingham, MA, this week began bringing its entire direct marketing operation supporting the Acoustic Wave Music system and Wave radio product line inhouse from Wickersham Hunt Schwanter, Boston, where it has been since 1993.

Bose said it wants to increase the amount of executive-level attention it places on using both online and offline direct marketing strategies in pursuit of new business as it seeks to reinforce its reputation and marketplace position as a respected music technology brand.

The complete transition, expected to be finalized April 1, will specifically tie the company's direct response outreach efforts more closely to the overall management of its brand identity.

Cheryl Ferreira, a spokeswoman at Bose, said the change had been planned for some time and the company had hired additional staff to meet its goals.

"We've worked closely with Wickersham over the past few years and that relationship has been a good one, but we are in a different phase of our development now as a company. Moving our direct marketing inhouse is just another step in our evolution." She said the extent of the new commitment was reflected in the company's plan to put the monitoring of all future direct marketing programs under the umbrella of its corporate communications department, which reports directly to the president.

"We're very committed to developing more synergy between our branding and our direct marketing," she said.

Ferreira said Bose plans to keep it's direct marketing "inside for the foreseeable future." She acknowledged that the company would save money by bringing its direct marketing business inhouse but assured "that is not our primary motivation for doing it. We have expanded and increased our staff size up to a 100 people - including the hiring of media and account people. We are also getting more successful with our direct mail overall and have planned about a 50-percent increase in mailings this year over last year."

Bose does not release sales figures or performance results in relation to its direct response campaigns. The company also would not characterize its billing relationship with Wickersham during the past year.

But Ferreira said its mailings, encompassing drops of more than 500,000 pieces, could be assumed "very profitable." She said Bose was especially happy with its most recent mailing that was dropped just prior to the 1999 holiday season. The company also plans to drop its first spring campaign in about six weeks, followed by the addition of another 20 to its staff.

"It's an exciting and challenging time," she said. "We're very happy with how it's going."

Bose's primary competitors are Bang & Olufesen, Harman International and Matsushita.

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