NEW YORK — Jan Brandt, president of marketing for America Online, was named 2000 Direct Marketer of the year at DMDNY’s Annual Marketing Conference. Brandt, who's served as AOL's top marketing executive since 1993, has been credited as a major force behind AOL's transformation from a 250,000 subscriber Internet access provider to a 22 million-member multimedia communications and entertainment giant.
One of Brandt’s major achievements was the development and growth AOL's ubiquitous free CD mailings and promotions. She said the idea grew from seeing a sample box giveaway in her local Blockbuster Video outlet.
“I said I wanted to find a way to put our disks in those boxes,” Brandt recalled.
“We recognized that the Internet is a dream medium for brand building through direct marketing,” she said. “We test and test and if it works we do it some more. If it fails we don't do it again. There was no accident in America Online's success or growth.”
Before joining AOL, Brandt held several direct marketing positions and founded her own agency. She said direct marketing principals have driven her success at AOL.
Brandt also updated the DMDNY luncheon audience on several of AOL's new business fronts. The AOL Time Warner merger is moving along, she said, and is expected to uncover $1 billion in synergies for both firms. AOL TV is on track, though she didn't specify an exact date when it would be available. The service will seek to marry AOL's interactivity to television.
Finally, the Reston, VA, firm expects to launch a new wireless device in a few months that would allow e-mail, two-way messaging, e-commerce and other services.