Her background isn’t the norm for a network marketing executive. LAURA MASSE majored in political science and history at the University of Albany and had her eye on a PhD in teaching. Things worked out a lot differently thanks to her first job on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. That led her to an ad agency in New York City and a career-long mentor relationship with Jane Maas. Jane directed the “I Love New York” campaign.
With a pro like that on your side, it’s no wonder Laura has found herself at the marketing helm of the Hallmark Channel. Based in LA (the valley actually, near the corner of Ventura Blvd and Laurel Canyon), Laura has been honing and polishing the Hallmark brand for the last six years.
“What do I like best about what I do?” Masse said via phone from her office. “Two things, really. One, I love digging deep to understand our audiences and find consumer insights, and then develop strategies based on those insights. Second, and Hallmark Channel is in a unique position here, I like crafting cohesive campaigns using all the promotion tools at our disposal – creating synergy with other Hallmark businesses (Hallmark Gold Crown Stores, hallmark.com and Hallmark Magazine) as well as aligning our efforts with our talented in-house Creative Services and PR teams. Fitting that marketing puzzle together so that we drive ratings, drive perceived value with our affiliates and create unique ad sales opportunities. With our limited resources, everything we do has to be a win-win-win on those three fronts.”
One such win-win-win situation was the channel debut of MARCH OF THE PENGUINS when Masse’s direction brought together partnerships with affiliates, local ad sales participants, Hallmark Gold Crown retailers, hallmark.com, Hallmark Flowers & Gifts as well as Warner Bros’ HAPPY FEET. She maintains that trading value instead of dollars is the way to go in today’s marketing world. “The impact of that program was $18 million and we spent only $2 million to make it happen.”
Masse works with tight and strategic Marketing and Creative Services groups, and she describes them as ‘nimble’ and ‘smart’. “They are great at creating comprehensive and compelling campaigns.” Sounds great. “They have a talent for thinking 360-degrees around a campaign, creating a cohesive set of tactics that get the job done,” she explained.
With 30 new original movies in a year on their plate, it’s going to be busy for Masse and her team. She likes to be involved from the beginning, reading scripts in development and working closely with the Programming team as production schedules are frequently close to the airdate.
How do new technologies impact her work? Use of new technologies are most integrated when they fit the story being told. When “The Note”, airs in December, Hallmark Channel will launch a viral email campaign with notes from the star, GENIE FRANCIS, who was totally gracious to the promo folks.
“We know the Hallmark Brand and are very protective to keep it consistent with our legacy,” Masse said. “We’re a small group and we pay attention.”
Masse works with a tight and well-focused creative group, and she describes them as ‘nimble’ and ‘smart’. “They are great at creating comprehensive and cohesive campaigns.” Sounds great. “They have the talent for whatever spot needs to be done,” she explained.
“If you can’t go somewhere, move in the passageways of the self. They are like shafts of light, always changing, and you change when you explore them.”