HOW DO YOU extend the excitement of a magazine beyond the printed page? With special events. This month, we speak with Danielle Neumann, merchandising director for Seventeen magazine, based in New York. Seventeen's events range from fashion shows in shopping malls to outdoor concerts featuring top entertainers. Both Special Events and Seventeen are owned by Primedia Inc.

SPECIAL EVENTS: How many special events do you stage for Seventeen magazine each year?

NEUMANN: More than 200, in retail outlets, malls, colleges, beach venues, concert venues, schools, etc. Our programs are always customized to suit the goals and budgets of our clients.

Q: What goals are you working to achieve?

A: The purpose of our events — all of which are created for clients who advertise in Seventeen — is to generate awareness for the brands and sponsors participating, to use Seventeen's incredible identity with our readers to give our sponsors a cutting-edge image, and, of course, to stimulate sales.

Q: How big is your special event staff?

A: Seventeen has the largest full-time, on-staff marketing department in the industry, which means we're basically a full-service marketing agency servicing our clients. Within the marketing department, there are 10 full-time people in the merchandising department, which is the department that plans, executes, and hosts the events. Our merchandising staff writes proposals, goes on sales calls to meet with existing and potential clients, and services the marketing needs of the sales staff. Then they travel nationwide several times a month as “celeb merch” [celebrity merchandising] editors to oversee on-site event details, make media appearances on behalf of Seventeen and our event sponsors, and serve as on-stage hosts at the events. This includes meeting tens of thousands of readers and fans, signing autographs, helping teens shop, answering questions about the magazine, etc.

Q: How do you stay on top of what Seventeen readers want at events?

A: Our celeb merch editors are out there constantly meeting readers and talking to them about what inspires them, and that's part of the reason our readers drive from hours away to experience Seventeen come to life. Also, Primedia dominates the online teen girl segment, reaching more than 2.4 million unique visitors and serving an average of 80 million page views each month. We are continuously tapping into our online resources to find out what motivates teens. We also watch our event results very closely, and do thorough post-event reports with specifics on what worked and what could have been better.

Q: Is there synergy between events and the magazine?

A: Definitely! We work closely with the editorial department to ensure that the trends we're showing at our fashion show events reflect the pages of the magazine — that the models in the shows are as diverse in size, ethnicity, personal style, etc., as the models in the magazines, and that our events live up to the powerful, unique and envied bond that Seventeen's 14 million readers have with the Seventeen brand.

Q: Can you measure the effectiveness of your events?

A: I'd say sales results, crowd sizes, “buzz” generated, driving traffic to retail for sales, and clients coming back for more are pretty good indicators — and we have overwhelming results in all those areas. Our crowd sizes range from 300 to 4,000 depending on the type of event and the venue. We also get tons of letters and e-mails from attendees saying how taking part in our events has literally changed their lives for the better. As far as sales results, our in-store programs have sparked sales increases topping 435 percent. As far as “buzz,” we have stores, malls and venues that have seen or heard about our events and call us to find out how they can get involved, and the same happens with clients.




Neumann's e-mail is danielle_neumann@primediamags.com.