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In Circulation: Q&A with Karen Jensen, marketing director for Saveur

Karen Jensen was recently hired as marketing director for Bonnier’s Saveur magazine. She joins the foodie title from Condé Nast’s Vanity Fair, where she served as associate director of creative products since 2004.

Why come to Saveur — what new opportunities do you see here?
I’m personally interested in the subject matter of the magazine, and I was just looking for a place where there was a chance to really make an impact. Vanity Fair is a great magazine, but there’s a larger staff there, and it’s a lot less entrepreneurial than where I am now.

What will you be doing at Saveur?
There have been a lot of changes at Saveur: there’s a new publisher and a new creative services director, with whom I am working hand in hand.

One of the things I’m focusing on is building a marketing program that makes sense for advertisers and for the editorial message of the magazine. I really want to communicate to advertisers that we can get their message out by partnering with them on events and other [joint] efforts. I also want to focus on fact that Saveur is different than other epicurean titles because it focuses on the heritage and traditions of food.

How have past experiences and jobs prepared you for this new role?  
I worked at American Express in the co-brand card marketing acquisition group for about two years and was in charge of acquisition marketing for Starwood Preferred Guest and Hilton HHonors credit cards. That was a great lesson because we had all the resources of American Express, so it was a great strategic place to be.

Vanity Fair has a huge emphasis on quality and perfection, and it has tremendous resources as well. I’m bringing to Saveur that strategic marketing from American Express and the creative focus of Vanity Fair

What is the overall structure of the Saveur marketing team?
It’s in transition right now. We have marketing resources and online resources and salespeople, but, compared with Vanity Fair, it’s a smaller organization.

There’s strong communication between all of us. Since there’s fewer people, I would say it’s less structured, but over time, we want to build more structure.

You did a lot of integrated and experiential programs for Vanity Fair — are you bringing those to Saveur?
We want to build integrated programs here that incorporate in-book, online and events. I’ve only been here for two weeks, so we’re putting a plan together and building partnerships, but at this point I can’t really talk about specific programs.

Saveur will be the lead media sponsor of Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco this summer. We’ll also have in-book and online pieces to go with this event. It’s the first time Slow Food has had an event in the US of this stature, and it fits with the mission of the magazine.

What are some of the challenges you might face?
I think the biggest challenge is that there’s so much I would like to do immediately, but everything will have to take its own time. Everyone on the marketing side has great ideas, but we can only move forward at a certain pace.

In Circulation column appears in the Circulation Marketing Weekly newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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