Thursday, September 19, 2002

Good-news magazine sells ads; publisher to speak here

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

        They turn out for community sports events and gather to visit at coffee shops. They take pride in their children, their volunteer fire and safety squads, their schools. They are faithful readers of their community newspapers. And they account for 27 percent of the nation's retail spending.

        This snapshot of America's heartland residents is one that inspired marketing executive Dan Hammond to design a publication that would appeal to this geographically diverse consumer segment. In April 2000, he launched American Profile, a four-color magazine that features upbeat stories, recipes and gardening tips, celebrity chat, book and movie reviews, and a regional calendar.

        Friday, Mr. Hammond will speak to the Cincinnati chapter of the American Marketing Association. His talk, “Tapping into Grassroots America: A Consumer Group with $344 Billion in Retail Spending Power,” will trace the success of his publication.

   What: “Tapping into Grassroots America“ talk by Dan Hammond.
   When: Friday. Registration, 11:30 a.m., lunch, program at noon.
   Where: Montgomery Inn Banquet Center, 601 E. Pete Rose Way.
   Cost: AMA members: $25 with reservations; $30 without. Nonmembers: $35 with reservations, $40 without.
   Information: 784-2373 or
        In its first eight months, the magazine — based in Franklin, Tenn. — was inserted in more than 560 community newspapers, achieving a circulation that approached 3 million. Its circulation goal is 15 million by the end of 2006. It publishes five regional editions and provides other content, such as TV listings and local weather, that individual newspapers can download and use.

        Said Mr. Hammond: “We partner with community newspapers to help strengthen them by providing a four-color magazine with positive editorial content that reinforces hometown values and enhances the value of the newspaper. This helps the newspaper increase revenue by growing circulation and capturing new advertising revenue from local businesses.“

        Local businesses aren't the only advertisers. What's made American Profile a publishing success story is the magazine's strategy to help national advertisers target small-town consumers.

        “We like this publication,” said John Heppler, director of marketing for Sara Lee Foods' Hillshire Farm brand. “A lot of its editorial content is about hometown pride, and we love its family orientation. It has been a great tactical addition to our regular print plan because it reaches our core Hillshire Farm consumer and bolsters our presence in these smaller communities.”

        Mr. Hammond said that “previously, advertisers haven't concentrated on trying to reach consumers in small towns, because it was a spotty, tedious and costly proposition. Now American Profile offers the solution by providing advertisers with one outlet and a single collective buy for reaching those small-town consumers.”

        As a youth in Noblesville, Ind., Mr. Hammond mowed lawns, lifeguarded and competed in school athletics. At Miami University he became acquainted with the rural community of Oxford.

        “Inspiration for American Profile magazine has come to me from seeing the differences in metropolitan and small-town life and experiencing the best of both worlds,” Mr. Hammond said.

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