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In Circulation: Jay Lauf, VP, publisher of The Atlantic discusses new hires

David Bergeman and Zazie Lucke have joined The Atlantic‘s New York-based sales and marketing team as circulation director marketing director, respectively. DMNews spoke with Jay Lauf, VP and publisher of The Atlantic, about the hires.

Q: What are David Bergeman’s responsibilities at The Atlantic?

A: To help open up The Atlantic to a larger audience. I won’t say broader because I think we reach the right audience. It’s about getting us in front of them in an effective way to grow circulation via newsstand and smart partnerships and also helping us cross-pollinate from the digital property. We have more than 2.5 million monthly uniques on the Web site right now, which is five times the audience size offline, and we’re making sure we introduce them to the printed property in a smart and impactful way.

Q: And what are Zazie Lucke’s responsibilities?

A: Her job is to help us build The Atlantic‘s story in a way that is compelling and resonant with advertisers and that takes the form of new and compelling marketing materials, programs, events and merchandising opportunities that our advertisers can tap into. There will be times when print will lead the way, and times when digital or events do, and she will look at the whole business holistically.

Q: Are there any specific projects that they are starting right away?

A: Lucke is working on a whole new presentation and media kit.  We are coming out with a redesigned look and feel and a new language, based on processes with various ad agencies we’re working with. Her first job is to revamp all our internal materials so that they’re contemporary and reflective of the new language we are using in relation to The Atlantic. Job two is helping to hire and mentor the balance of the marketing department.

In David’s case, part of what is interesting about his experience is experimentation, so we are not going to be afraid to experiment on the newsstand with different methods for getting attention.

Q: How different is this from what you were doing before?

A: I think the big difference is the continued focus on integration. What will definitely be different is that I want everybody — assistants through executives — to be thinking that we are content first and channel second. These people will need to be as versed in and creative about digital as they are in print.

Q: What is the overall goal behind all these changes? 

A: It’s not that we want a new type of audience. I don’t want to have anyone mistake that we are trying to be broad for sake of being broad. It’s more there are very smart people who are participants in the world around them, and those are the ones that we want to attract more of.  The rate base, since it was taken down to bare bones a few years ago, has grown back, and that was without much sophisticated marketing. The Web site, too, has more than quadrupled in the number of uniques since last winter. We expect the rate base will increase — we can take it up as much as 10% at the beginning of next year to 440,000. Longer term projections for the Web site over the next four to five years are more than 5 million uniques. With a smarter, more appropriately aggressive circ approach — both print and online — I think we can foster more Atlantic devotees.

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