Rich Handloff, Director of Consumer Marketing at The Washington Post, is known for taking ideas and making them happen. While building his career, he wasn’t worried about climbing the career ladder; he concentrated on doing his job well and meeting business objectives. Under Handloff’s leadership, his team launched a loyalty program, PostPoints, and other initiatives designed to retain and reward home delivery subscribers. In addition, even as the print newspaper business has been challenged, they have implemented new acquisition programs that have delivered results.
Handloff discovered he had an aptitude for marketing while a student studying at Syracuse University for an undergraduate degree in operations management. In his freshman year he had a part-time job in the annual fund office calling alumni and raising funds for the University. Before he knew it, he was training other students and he was a manager of student callers. After graduating, Handloff accepted a job as an operations analyst and consultant for Robbins Gioia in Alexandria, Virginia. He quickly became the subject matter expert for sales calls, which ignited his enthusiasm for product management and marketing communications, and prompted his decision to get his MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the George Washington University.
Upon completion of his MBA, he went to work for Mellon Bank and then joined Chevy Chase Bank (now Capital One). While marketing services for well-known financial institutions, he immersed himself in AMADC, networking, and identifying business vendors and partners. He sat on the Board as VP of Communications, publishing the organization’s newsletter and selling business ads.
Today, AMADC helps Handloff solve business problems and stay abreast of what’s going on in the industry. Through marketing roundtables, he is able to discuss the increased focus on ROI and how to account for every single marketing dollar. No longer can marketing directors justify expenses by saying, “we need to be a community player” or “it’s for branding.”
These are Handloff’s words of wisdom:
- Focus on retention. It is so expensive to acquire new customers.
- Partner with your technology team. Companies are increasing relying on technology to get their message across. It’s important to know and talk the language of IT. Develop an appreciation for technology. It’s incredible how marketers can use it to target customers with precision.
- Don’t accept the status quo. Don’t accept when a colleague says, “But we’ve always done it this way.” Take creative risks.
- Act as if you are being judged on every single project. Small and big wins will get you recognized so do what you do well. For me, it was growing and retaining customers.