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Guardian in DM push to promote Berliner revamp

The Guardian supported its successful Berliner launch last month with a direct marketing campaign that involved setting up a contact centre specifically to gain reader feedback.

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The paper sent door drops and discount vouchers to more than three million UK homes a week before the Berliner edition hit the newsstands on 12 September.

Readers on The Guardian's CRM database received emails on the Friday before the relaunch, urging them to buy a copy of the new-look paper on Monday.

The paper encouraged readers to phone with their reactions to the editorial changes. "We made a policy decision to engage in dialogue with readers and so we set up a multimedia contact centre," said Charles Ping, head of customer relationship management at The Guardian, who spent five days in the contact centre. "Thousands have told us what they think - you can't get more direct than that."

The axed Doonesbury cartoon, for example, was reinstated after readers registered their protests.

The relaunch edition generated a 40 per cent increase in sales. The Guardian's average headline circulation for August was 341,689 copies, suggesting the paper could have sold more than 450,000 on relaunch day.

Although Ping describes the direct marketing campaign behind the relaunch as "significant", its cost is likely to be a drop in the ocean compared with the £80 million invested overall in switching the newspaper to the smaller format.

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