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Lamaze Extends Parenting Message

Lamaze International, which has educated expectant parents for 35 years, will debut a new magazine this fall that picks up where its three other titles leave off, guiding parents through their child's development up to preschool and providing another source for marketers to reach new parents.

The debut issue of Lamaze Family will be mailed Oct. 15 to 500,000 families who requested subscriptions. An additional 250,000 issues will go to childbirth educators for distribution. Like the other Lamaze publications, the magazine is free, but it will be the first distributed by mail.

Lamaze Parents and its Spanish version, Revista Lamaze Para Padres, are handed out to 2.4 million parents annually on the first night of a Lamaze childbirth class, while Lamaze Baby is given to 3 million new mothers every year by hospital maternity nurses. Lamaze Parents covers childbirth and parenting preparation, Lamaze Baby outlines baby care and Lamaze Family will focus on early childhood from three months to preschool age. It will have separate sections devoted to mothers, fathers and child development.

Lamaze is counting on the influence of publications that reach 90 percent of first-time birth parents and 75 percent of all birth parents to drive requests for Lamaze Family. Requests for the new publication can be made through registration cards/self-mailers found in the other Lamaze publications, online at www.lamaze.com or by the clicking the Lamaze banner ad at www.babycenter.com, or by calling 800/266-3600.

“We've discovered through surveys that Lamaze is a powerful brand name that means trust and education; that's what helps us,'' said Richard Wellen, Lamaze senior vice president of marketing.

Childbirth educators, who spend more time with expectant parents than their doctors, are the other primary source of promotion, and Lamaze will continue to send them 250,000 copies of every issue.

“We will continue to use bulk circulation,” Wellen said. “It's our roots.”

The circulation of Lamaze Family will jump to 1 million for the second issue in March, and plans call for a bimonthly publishing schedule thereafter. Lamaze does not rent lists. Although it is a possibility in the future, Wellen said growing the circulation of a free publication beyond a certain level may not make financial sense.

“One of the issues we're dealing with is a circulation ceiling,'' Wellen said. “It could be high as 1.5 million going into 2000. We have an efficient circulation building machine and will use that to control the rate at which we grow.''

Lamaze is a source, however, for direct marketers targeting new parents. Lamaze Special Delivery allows companies to deliver product information, coupons and samples as “onserts'' polybagged with Lamaze publications. The Lamaze Parent Database has a master file of more than 700,000 new parents and offers various demographic and geographic selects, including Spanish speakers. DJ Associates, Ridgefield, CT, manages the Lamaze list rental properties.

Lamaze also is a vehicle to reach those who influence parent's buying decisions. Lamaze educator programs inform doctors, 13,000 childbirth educators and 3,000 maternity nurses about products through direct mail. Lamaze also designs customized sponsor publications and programs.

Lamaze Family will compete with the paid circulation titles Parenting, Parents and others, but Lamaze Institute president Virginia Cargill said the message will be positive and supportive rather than anxiety-driven.

“For today's parents, that makes a big difference,'' Cargill said. “Our focus groups revealed most had incredible fears of being parents. The 20-something crowd is just not into the scare tactics, they want the practical.''

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