Kernerman Dictionary News • Number 1 • July 1994

Marketing Password in Brazil

Waldir Martins Fontes

Password English Dictionary for Speakers of Portuguese, published in Brazil by Livraria Martins Fontes Editora in 1991 and now in its third edition, has already achieved impressive sales results. This is a consequence of a marketing campaign, whose goal was to familiarize English language learners in Brazil with the concept of semi-bilingual dictionaries.

This marketing campaign included an aggressive promotional strategy, made necessary by the immense difficulties in the local publishing industry. Brazil suffers from economic recession and monetary inflation, with the resultant decrease in consumer purchasing power. There is also the problem in setting up an efficient company structure to cover over 8.5 million square kilometers, encompassing regions with enormous social and economic disparities.

Nevertheless, Martins Fontes understood that Password had to its advantage a potentially rich market. The use of English in Brazil, both at work and socially, is becoming more and more important and necessary.

Specific programs to publicize Password were developed with many of the English courses set up in the country and with schools which teach English as part of their curriculum. Among these activities, the following may be noted:

  • A direct mail campaign to all English language teachers in the country.
  • Sending a copy of the dictionary to the director of each course.
  • Visits by sales representatives for demonstrating the dictionary to directors and English teachers.
  • Participation at the most important professional conventions for English teachers, such as LAURELS (Latin American Union of Registered English Language Schools) and BRAZ-TESOL.
  • This campaign produced an impressive response. As a result, English teachers have begun to recommend the dictionary to their students.

    Another important marketing coup was the agreement made with LAURELS, one of the most prestigious chains of English language schools in Brazil. As a result of this agreement, Martins Fontes produced an edition with special covers for six schools of the group.

    The contact with LAURELS has had a very strong marketing impact on the image of Password in Brazil, taking into account the effect of a partnership between a publishing house with a well established tradition and a group of private schools of high reputation.

    The association with Kernerman Publishing has provided an innovative opening for Martins Fontes, as it has become recognized as an ELT publisher in its own right for the first time.

    Waldir Martins Fontes is director of Livraria Martins Fontes Editora Ltda, in Sao Paulo.

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