Blog Activity

  • DMCNY Member News


    2014, December

    Big congratulations to Joe Frick of Adrea Rubin Media Inc., who received Datalogix's prestigious 360A partner award for August 2014. Joe Frick, VP of Marketing and Social Media,, 646-487-3768.

    Prompt Direct recently unveiled PromptTRACK Alerts, a customizable mailer notification tool.  As mail is scanned, Prompt lets the mailer know when it reaches a particular point in its journey, for example, when delivery is imminent. Phil Catalano,

    MeritDirect, the leading provide of global multichannel marketing services, is pleased to announce the opening of a new satellite office in San Joe CA, expanding the company to the West Coast.  The operations in San Jose will be managed by Chris Blohm, Senior Vice President of Data & Media Services, and staffed by Deirdre Blohm, Vice President of Customer Acquisition & Retention.  Contact Chris Blohm at 669-231-4753 or Deirdre Blohm at 660-231-4410.

    Fosina Marketing Group celebrates quite the "giving quarter," having signed several new humanitarian non-profit clients, helping them fundraise online via sustaining giving.  The company also assisted their client Amora Coffee with going "Pink" to increase Breast Cancer Awareness.  The Fosina team also got wet and donated to ALS, and took to the links in support of the Hudson Valley Junior Achievement Golf Outling.  Ray Schneeberger, VP Sales,  203-546-5547.


    Donna Baier Stein, Brian Kurtz, and Bob Bly all spoke at the American Writers and Artists Institute 4-Day Copywriting Bootcamp in DelRay Beach FL in October.  Richard Armstrong gave the keynote address.  Donna Baier Stein,, 908-872-1775.

    The club presented its 2014 Mal Dunn Leadership Award sponsored by Alliant to Bruce Biegel, senior managing director, Winterberry Group, at a special luncheon on Thursday, September 11.  The Mal Dunn Leadership Award recognizes data-driven marketing professionals for their exemplary service to the field.

    Leon Henry Inc. is proud to announce their recertification by WBENC (The Women's Business Enterprise National Council) for the 6th year in a row.  Leon Henry Inc. is also certified as a New York State Woman Owned Business Enterprise.  Contact or call 914-285-3456. 



    To help bring our vibrant DM community closer, let us know what you and your company are up to!  Send your news to  Notices will be placed in the newsletter and online.

  • Bill Baird's picture

    DMCNY September Luncheon Notes - OmniChannel Marketing

    The September presentation by Paradysz and PM Digital’s co-founder and co-CEO Chris Paradysz and VP, Advisory Services Michael McVeigh focused on the growing need for Omnichannel marketing, the related challenges marketers face, and strategies and solutions to meet those challenges.

    The top takeaways were: 

    What is Omnichannel Marketing?  It’s a strategy that builds campaigns and infrastructure from the point of view of the customer.  It fights fragmentation to achieve customer-centric foundations.  And it drives content based on unique customer behaviors and histories. 

    Why is Omnichannel Marketing Necessary? Customers are spending more than double the amount of time per day on mobile devices vs. 4 years ago, as well as doubling the number of consultations prior to purchase.  They rely on more information sources and expect a seamless buying experience across the channels closest to those sources.  Furthermore, your competitors are investing in omnichannel: 83% of marketers said they intended to invest in it in 2014. 

    Who’s Doing it Right?  One example is Skriiiex, a 26-year-old music producer and DJ who produced $16m in revenue in 2013 using a vast portfolio of social media followers, fans, subscribers and downloadable sources.  Another strong example is Macy’s, where the stores are fulfillment centers; sales reps order products for customers on line; and budgets are omnichannel (and not in silo’s). 

    The Challenges.  Challenges include the fear of the strategic overhaul that omnichannel implies.  A transition to omnichannel threatens existing separate digital and offline groups.  And fractured & isolated capabilities contradict findings across the board. 

    The Process.  The key to successfully leveraging data across all touch points is to create a comprehensive view of how customers behave from channel to channel to understand (and optimize) the experience.  

    First understand your audience – what do they care about?  What are their preferences?  Your goal is to understand these customer profiles well enough to develop a marketing recipe strategy that will drive engagement. 

    Then segment your audience and build a contact strategy for each segment. 

    How Do You Know When You Need a Dashboard?  When weekly report attachments take up over 90% of your inbox storage … and amount to more than 90% of your unread messages.  (Or if your existing dashboard can’t pass the “Fortune Cookie Test”: Are you less likely to open your dashboard than a fortune cookie … or do you find its contents less informative?)

    What is an Effective Dashboard?  It scales up to an executive level; drills down to campaign, channel and customer segment; enables you as the user to interact by time period with filters to answer questions as they occur to you; and displays Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) versus goal and budget. 

    Competitive Dashboards.  In an omnichannel environment, things change quickly.  As with your own business, you need to know how effectively your competitors are growing, engaging and retaining customers in each channel.  You need to understand how they’re doing it.  And to determine whether you should emulate what they’re doing.   You should be doing this vigilantly across channels, using competitive dashboards.  

    Multichannel Attribution.  As of November 2013, 18% of marketers were practicing sophisticated cross-channel attribution, which identifies how spending in one channel effects responsiveness in another.  As of September 2013, 2% of marketers used a combined attribution strategy to achieve omnichannel success, and this number is growing rapidly.

  • Chet Dalzell talks with Roberta Elins, FIT Advertising & Marketing Communications


    2012, September

    New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) offered the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in direct/interactive marketing in 1997. Roberta Elins served as the program’s most recent chair until January 2012. Posting’s Chet Dalzell spoke with Roberta, currently Professor of Advertising & Marketing Communications at FIT.

    Q. FIT was the first US university to offer a bachelor’s degree program specifically in direct/interactive marketing. How many students have graduated from the program since its inception?

    We have graduated between 300 and 350 students, the majority of whom are active in the direct/interactive marketing field. The degree program is a two-year program.We have 50 students enrolled at any given time.

    Q. Do students show a keen interest in the direct/digital discipline? How do they come to choose this specific degree?

    A. Today, the students are digital natives. (I like to describe myself and others like me as digital immigrants.) They instinctually understand the process of digital media and are fluent in digital channels. They may be familiar with traditional direct as well, but to make traditional as attractive to them,it’s all in the presentation: “What is the challenge we’re trying to overcome?” With the curriculum – which includes an introductory course, direct response copywriting, Internet marketing, database marketing, media, market research, ROI, Excel for Business, and finance and operations – students

    are exposed to direct marketing concepts that are applied in any channel, and, best of all, all of our fabulous faculty are practitioners. One adjunct, in fact, Christine Slusarek, is a recent DMCNY Silver Apple award recipient; she created FIT’s Internet Marketing course and our first online course. Each FIT student also enrolls in an internship to receive direct experience in a business in the field, on the brand side or with an agency or service provider.

    Q. Do these graduates then enjoy 100-percent placement? What types of functions within the field do they continue to master?

    A. Driven I would say 95 percent are placed in the field. All of them apply what they learn in the careers they go to – but most of our graduates today are in creative, account management, CRM, brand-side and agency-side, at such names as FILA, Estee Lauder, Digitas, Logo/MTV, Zenith Media, Omnicom,

    Saks Fifth Avenue, L’Oreal and American Express, among others. And many of them stay in touch. We have a very active LinkedIn group that helps our alums stay in touch with our faculty and one another.

    Q. How does FIT interact with the business community, specifically in the direct/interactive areas?

    A. First, we treat all our students as marketing professionals, or “pre-professionals.” Our internship program ensures each of our graduates has had in-the-field experience, and all our internship partners are vetted in advance. At least two of our students each year also participate in our program abroad in London (affiliated with the London College of Fashion) where they also work in an internship while they are there. We encourage all students to network locally, hence our active involvement with DMCNY.

    Q. Thank you for bringing that up! FIT, thanks to your involvement, is a supporter of DMCNY, offering its students memberships in the organization. How did this partnership evolve?

    A. A colleague of mine in direct/interactive marketing, Hayward Henderson, who was then working at The New York Times Digital, provided us a grant that was matched by the Times. Today, we use these

    funds to pay for student membership fees at DMCNY, and to provide scholarship monies to attend our London program, DMCNY lunches and DMEF [Direct Marketing Educational Foundation] conferences.

    We see student memberships as a great recruitment tool – a way to interact with field professionals. We also choose students to represent FIT as greeters and registrars at the Silver Apple galA.

    Q. Are you optimistic that the program will continue to thrive at FIT?

    A. Definitely! These digital natives can help companies. They can learn to master on-the-job more traditional aspects of our business while helping brands navigate across channels and connect socially. Their skill sets are in demand.

    Corporations, agencies and organizations seeking the services of an FIT direct/interactive marketing intern may contact Andrew Cronan, director of the FIT Career & Internship Center, at


    Roberta Elin
    Roberta Elin's picture

    Contact Roberta at

  • How to Improve Campaign Response by 40% or More (and Have Fun Doing It)


    2012, September

    How can you reach that lofty level where multichannel marketing is both profitable and fun?  By marrying the right channels with the right campaigns—consistently.  Here are the key steps to getting the entire process right.

    You’re the modern digital marketer.  You confide frequently in your friend Siri.  You likely text more than you talk.  You know that Mashable is a website and not a potato pancake.  You actually know what PPC, CPC, and IAB stand for.  And if you’re a true one-percenter in your field, you know that multichannel campaigns – those that employ at least two different but carefully coordinated media channels, including offline vehicles like postal mail (gasp!) – generate overall response and engagement rates 25%-40% higher, and are more profitable, than efforts using one channel only.

    “Yes, Jay,”you’re saying,“of course I know that.  Siri told me so.”  But how do you determine which channels to use for different campaigns? Read on, friend.


    If you’re looking to build awareness of your solution among Fortune 1000, C-level executives, texting and social media aren’t going to get ‘er done.  And if you’re looking to build engagement levels among Millennials, you can forget about banners or print of any sort.  In a word: anathema.

    So what you need to do is take a clear-eyed picture of your target’s media consumption habits and propensities.  Use primary or third-party research, get your Zoomerang on – whatever it takes in the time you’ve got – but get to know how, where and why your target customers get information.


    Lifetime value (LTV) is not first-year revenue, but your projection – based on previous experience and analysis as rigorous as your diet will allow – of what kind of sales you can expect from an average customer during their tenure as your sponsor.  (If that figure is really low, you can probably stop reading right now.)


    Cost-to-acquire (CTA) is the kissing cousin of LTV.  It is simply your LTV minus your desired profit margin.  With this number in hand, the world, at least from a planning and analysis point of view, is your oyster. You can now start to shake and bake. Huh?  Keep going…


    OK, you know what they want, you know what they’re worth, you know what they cost.  You, sir or madam, are cooking with gas.  Take this hot plate full of knowledge to your media-planning department, marketing firm or whomever you use to beat up slick ad sales executives and tell them: “I want xx customers and I can spend $xx to buy them and I want a 20% discount.”  Media bid, quotes and yes, even planning scenarios should emerge.


    This stage is where you may need smart and experienced experts (n.b., I know a top-notch marketing firm in Westport, CT that makes free smoothies for clients…).  Here we figure out which pairings and groupings of media best complement one another.  We know, for example, that using radio as air cover, followed closely by sequences of postal mail and email and retargeted banner campaigns, can be a highly effective way to get consumers to try a new product or service offering.  We also know that TV won’t do much to increase your click-through rates, at least not enough to justify the media and production costs.  How do we know these things?  Because we’ve tested the heck out of these notions.


     While all the number crunching and browbeating is going on, go visit your creative team.  (They’re the folks with drawers full of empty 5-hour Energy bottles.)  Work with them to develop a concept, message, value proposition, and look and feel that are clear, concise, compelling and flexible enough to “work” both online and off.  Why?  Our overtaxed brains respond to relevant, frequent, consistent drumbeats of messaging.  So give your prospects’ craniums what they crave.


    Aren’t you sick of that word “test”?  Yeah, me too.  Condescending direct marketers like me tend to invoke it like it’s gospel.  But after hiring the right resources (i.e., those with lots of experience with multichannel campaigning), the best way to determine the most efficient mix of media to achieve your campaign objective is to test groupings based on all the knowledge you’ve accumulated by now.


    You did your homework and executed your tests.  Now you know what works, what doesn’t, and why.   So do what works again and go bigger.  And then test again.  

    Successful multichannel marketing requires finding the right mixture of art and science. Do it right and rule the world! (OK, that’s a huge overstatement, but you get the idea, right?)


    Jay Bower
    Jay Bower's picture

    Jay Bower is president and chief archer of Crossbow Group, a full-service, multichannel marketing firm based in Westport, CT (  Reach him at 203-222-2244 or  (He’s better looking in person.)

  • What It Takes to Be a (Direct) Marketer


    2012, September

    As marketing has turned digital, the hiring process has become ever more complicated.  What skills do new marketers need to succeed?  And what talents should employers be looking for?  At the graduate-school level, the key word is “integrated.”

    As a marketer whose career has been an equal balance of agency account management and teaching at the graduate level, I am often asked what skills are needed for entry into our field.  The answer was easier in the pre-digital era.  That’s because, as DMCNY members well know, the field has changed dramatically – and continues to change – and the skills required to thrive in it have multiplied in recent years.

    Today’s entry-level candidates must have significant specialized talents far beyond those required of marketers just a decade ago.


    Here’s an important point to understand about today’s marketing students right from the start: Digital natives do not consider themselves direct marketers.

    As the academic director of a graduate degree program in marketing for the past 10 years, my experience teaching and advising hundreds of students has shown me they are not familiar with the term “direct marketing” – and do not consider direct marketing to be a specific career path.  They define themselves as marketers.

    That is one of the reasons I changed the name of the graduate-degree program at New York University from “direct and interactive marketing” to “integrated marketing” back in 2008.

    The name change, along with the new curriculum that I developed for it, resulted in a dramatic lift in student response. That isn’t surprising when we consider that students are consumers, and today’s consumers expect the marketplace to be integrated – with branding consistency across all media and channels.

    Here are a few more facts about today’s marketing students:

    • They have often never seen the hardcopy version of a catalog and are just as often not aware that there might be a hardcopy version.   
    • They perceive catalog marketers as online marketers.  
    • They have never belonged to a book or music club.  
    • They tend to not subscribe to any hardcopy publications.

    In a sense, today’s students consider most marketing to be “direct” because most companies that market to them have websites.  The concept of 1:1 seems implicit to them because of live Web chats with customer-service representatives and the social media channels that connect them to brands. They view transparency and immediacy as basic elements of “direct.”


    To thrive in the digital marketplace, today’s marketers (whether or not they consider themselves direct) need:

    Financial skills.  Those of us who started in direct marketing had to become fluent in profit-and-loss management and response analysis.  Measurable marketing skills are essential for digital, and candidates will find measurement skills a key asset for entry-level client-side, agency, and vendor positions.

    Marketing skills.  Here, it is an understanding rather than a set of skills that is needed at the outset.  The skillset will come with experience. What is needed at entry-level is the knowledge that marketing is an

    exchange process and that it is costly in terms of media as well as time (social media requires management).

    Media skills.  Digital media knowledge is the most critical media skill: knowing which media are right for achieving marketing goals, and what the best practices are for the full array – from email, flash, search, and video to social media.

    Creative skills.  Knowing what constitutes effective creative is essential, from being able to write a creative brief that defines the marketing strategy to assessing whether the work is on-strategy.

    The “Four P” skills.  Knowing how to leverage product, price, promotion, and place is not essential for entry-level marketers, but a basic knowledge of these key elements is important.  For example, the classic direct marketer’s use of promotion in the form of offer development is now central to

    a wide range of customer touchpoints well beyond an acquisition campaign; that knowledge is also crucial for website design and copy, SEO, and social media.

    And that’s just the start! 

    MBA and specialized graduate programs are designed to go beyond on-the-job training to build skills in strategy, finance, statistics, analytics—including data security and privacy, brand and product management, operations, management, and business development.

    Finally, at all levels there is the need for teamwork skills and a strong moral compass.

    As the field of marketing continues to evolve, DMCNY members at all stages of their career paths face the challenge of staying current.  What I’ve outlined here is what it takes to build the foundation skills for today’s marketing – which is direct in ways we could never have anticipated.


    Marjorie Kalter
    Marjorie Kalter's picture

    Dr. Marjorie Kalter is a marketer and educator.  She teaches at NYU’s Stern School of Business.  Selected for the DMA’s Hall of Fame, she received this honor in October 2012. She is a recipient of the DMCNY’s Silver Apple

    Award and the DMEF’s Edward N. Mayer Award for Educational Leadership.  She created and headed NYU’s M.S. in Integrated Marketing program, and served as its fulltime professor for 11 years. Reach her at

  • Successful Copywriting in a Digital World


    2012, September

    The Digital Age has opened up an exciting array of new marketing channels. The challenge now is to match the message to the medium! Consider these excellent tips for multichannel copywriting.

    New media channels are exploding, and there’s no going back. In today’s world, Twitter, Facebook,YouTube, iPads, apps and Pinterest make even email marketing seem, well, 20th-century.

    The good news is that direct response copywriting skills are more relevant than ever.  The powerful, customer-focused call-to-action remains essential. 


    To execute a strong integrated campaign, you can’t just lift copy from Web page to email to direct mail.  Your content can be the same, but your voice, pace and structure have to come alive for each medium.

    Here are some tips for writing by channel in the Digital Age:

    Websites:  Invite people into your home.

    Websites need to have a strong customer-service orientation.  Welcome prospects with exactly what they’re looking for on the home page (including the offer featured in your promotions).  Be gracious:  Offer multiple ways to engage.  Make it easy for prospects to find what they want.  Provide clear choices that are user-focused.  Be orderly in structuring your site, so visitors can find where they want to go without searching all over and getting lost.

    Email: Test. Test. Test subject lines.

    Your “Sender” line should either be your company name or an individual known to the recipient.  Constantly test “Subject” lines that go right to the point of the prospect’s need; your reader’s unthinking brain is scanning 100 email titles for relevance!  Body copy should get right to the point.  Give your photos strong captions that link

    to action, in addition to your call-to-action links at top and bottom.   Create a strong, uncluttered Web landing page with the same look, which focuses only on this offer.  Alternate your hard-sell emails with messages that educate and engage.

    Twitter: Could 140 characters be too many? 

    Short, pithy, compelling – easier said than done, but using fewer than 140 characters will leave room for your username on retweets.   Lift your tweet phrasing from spoken language.  Watch for phrasings that get your attention in conversation or on TV.  Could you pose your tweet as a question?   Use more extreme words (craving v. hungry; must know now v. curious).  Be casual and personal, but not sloppy or self-focused.  If you’re posting for a company, make that clear, and stay within the brand personality.

    Facebook: Be natural. 

    This is a medium where the customers, not the companies, are in charge, so make sure you blend in.  Writing should be natural rather than corporate, upbeat, and very short (100 to 250 words recommended).  Think offers and headlines, and, when customers respond, positive or not, think, “Great! Market Research. will walk you through all their ever-evolving features.

    LinkedIn: Everyone benefits. 

    More straightforward than Facebook, LinkedIn is a good idea for just about every business and professional. Although the resumé format makes it easy to post your professional information, let your writing be a little more personal and enthusiastic than resumé style.  Less hard-sell, more friendly and enticing.

    Blogs: Make sure you have something to say. 

    It’s hard to be original all the time.  But it’s better to quote someone else than be obvious or trite.  Let your passions show.  Of all media, the blog should be the most personal. “I was thinking the other day...”  “One of my colleagues recently asked me about...”   Does it bother you that...?”

    Online Video: Talking heads still need a script. 

    Online videos are so cheap to make, but so often boring to view.  With a tight script (and a little rehearsal) you’ll make your point quickly and grab interest.  Craft your videos like three 10-second TV spots that together make a :30.

    Mobile: Growing fast, becoming huge.

    User behavior differs for computers, iPads and smartphones, so take the time to consider technical requirements, creative parameters and user behavior.  Picture your prospects walking around with a mobile phone in-hand.  What actions are they likely to take?  Not the same as sitting at a desk, that’s for sure!  Don’t use automated software to convert your website to mobile.  Instead, rank the actions your smartphone users perform when they’re out and about, and write your mobile site accordingly.

    Direct Mail: Don’t underestimate it.

    Direct mail is still a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, but in the digital age, don’t take any element for granted.  Going after a younger market?   Think conceptual, edgy postcards and QR codes.  Find out if localization is an option.  Use the larger direct mail real estate to appeal to hearts and minds: Think heartwarming photos and factual pie charts, and make their captions do some heavy lifting.  Your letter should be heartfelt, personal, informative and persuasive, but remember, only the person who’s already sold is going to read the whole letter.  So focus on your envelope teaser, callouts, captions, and reply form to reel them in.  Create integrated direct mail and email campaigns – and look for stronger results than from either channel alone.

    The bottom line?  Whatever your medium, stay focused on user behavior.  Your call-to-action is king.


    Ann Goodstein
    Ann Goodstein's picture

    Ann Goodstein is president of Goodstein Integrated Marketing, creating campaigns for corporations and non-profits since 1990.  Reach her at 212-807-6974 or

  • Building and Leveraging Customer Insights in a Digital Age


    2012, September

    How can you keep up with the needs of your customers when their preferences can change in the blink of an eye—or the flash of a screen? The key lies in maintaining cutting-edge data.

    It’s no secret that shoppers in today’s digital world have many options when making buying decisions, and that a well-timed and appropriately targeted message can make all the difference in gaining new

    customers and keeping them.  However, simply sending them welcome notes and standardized solicitations at regular intervals is not enough anymore; each customer requires different communications through different channels at different times.

    Building customer intelligence is the key to developing deeper, more profitable relationships with your buyers, and it all begins with the right data.


    The digital world presents businesses and customers alike with new choices and options every day.  Tools like Google AdWords help marketers target customers with ads based on the websites they’ve visited, and shoppers can easily conduct comparisons of products and prices online.

    Thankfully, tracking customer behavior is easier than ever, with the availability of details like:

    • How customers find you
    • What information they seek from you
    • How long they spend on your site before making a purchase
    • Whether they purchase items for others
    • How often they log in, and what they do when they log in
    • Whether they open your emails and if they click through

    Furthermore, this information can be combined with other data – such as when customers come into a specific store or call a business – to get a more complete behavioral picture.

    • Does a customer regularly buy one product online, but prefer to come into the store for other products?
    • How do you use that information to tailor that customer’s experience?
    • If a customer has decreased their engagement with your business, can you proactively offer them a new product or solution before they turn elsewhere to fulfill their needs?

    Tracking your customers’ behaviors will enable you to consistently answer questions like these, and determine when, why, and how to contact each individual buyer — and better show that you understand their ever-changing needs.

    In addition to basic behavioral data, businesses can also leverage descriptive customer data.  Information from trusted third-party data providers such as InfoUSA and Experian can provide an overview of characteristics such as age, income range, ethnicity, occupation, and shopping preferences, for example.  But such data must be used wisely: It’s important not to cross the line between “relevant” and “relentless.”  For instance, don’t harass frequent and satisfied customers with new-product suggestions daily.


    In order to keep customer “churn” to manageable levels and hold down acquisition costs, companies should begin a nurturing and relationship-deepening program right from the start with a communications-based “onboarding” program for new customers.

    Starting the relationship off on the right foot with targeted communications that demonstrate you understand – and care – about your customer’s individual needs is critical.  Whatever the medium, whether online or in person, reflecting back to customers that you’ve understood what they’ve told you about themselves and their needs is the key to engaging them in an ongoing, one-to-one dialogue that earns long-term loyalty and creates value.


    How can you get started right away and begin leveraging data assets to build customer insights you can use?  Break the process down into three steps:

    1. Make sure you are aware of (and keep track of) all available customer behavioral and descriptive data.  If you

    use Google to deliver online ads, that’s a great place to start; if you are communicating with your customers through email, your email service provider can supply data on bounce, open, and click-through rates, and other critical response information.

    2. Begin using that data to generate insights.  Which customers are buying what products and services?  Which are more responsive to emails, which to online ads?  Are certain customers responsible for a larger share of sales and profits than other customers?

    3. Use those insights to drive customer-centric actions. Implement an onboarding program to target new customers with relevant information that will cement your relationship for years to come.  Offer your best customers your best deals; create different email messages for different segments depending on their buying behaviors and descriptive characteristics.  

    These are all ways to create deeper, more mutually valuable customer relationships based on data-driven insights.  What matters most is simply getting started, and keeping your eye on the most important asset your business has – your customer.


    Tony Coretto
    Tony Coretto's picture

    Tony Coretto is the co-founder and co-CEO of PNT Marketing Services, Inc., an award-winning database marketing consultancy and four-time member of the Inc5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America.  For more information on Tony and PNT, visit the company website at  Reach him


  • Getting to Know Anonymous Consumers — What’s Your Strategy?


    2013, January

    This is an exciting time, full of amazing opportunities for marketers.

    Given all the change – consumer expectations, technologies, devices, the economy –

    marketers face a monumental task in reaching and grabbing the attention of consumers. Does your brand have a strategy for getting to know, and connect with, consumers individually?

    Identifying Consumers Along the Path to Purchase 

    Each consumer is on his or her own path to purchase. Only in understanding this path can a brand know the next right thing to say, and when and where to say it. 

    A specific challenge facing marketers is the notion of the “anonymous” consumer. Consumers, for the most part, research and shop anonymously and form an independent purchase decision before they step foot into a retail store or log onto a web site. While there is typically a mountain of data about consumers available from many sources, it can’t always be relied upon to be complete or compiled in one place or format. 

    Brand marketers today must be relentless about data collection.  When a brand knows something about a current or potential customer, it can use that insight to influence the purchase when the consumer is in the market. The objective must be to pull together all available data to identify where a consumer is along the path to purchase, and then collect what is missing to form a complete picture. 

    The good news is that consumers will tell you who they are and what they want, as long as you give them a reason to do so.  Here is some advice: 

    • Engaged consumers are more profitable and more loyal than others. Through “engineered engagement” with consumers — while respecting their preferences and asking permission — you can determine the right expression of your brand and product features that appeal to an individual consumer. 
    • Consumers prefer to receive personally relevant information. Conduct meaningful conversations on each consumer’s terms, and then tailor interactions to meet specific needs. 
    • The customer’s journey is longitudinal and not consistent. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the consumer changes. To successfully identify and engage with the consumer today, be willing and able to meet the consumer where they are, and in a relevant and engaging manner. An integrated multichannel program is a necessity to provide a cohesive experience. Consider the behaviors around each channel – from direct mail to social media – and build a plan that leverages multiple touch points and evokes action.
    • Be prepared to modify the engagement process in real time, on the fly, to keep in step with the consumer.

    The changing market is exciting and opening up a world of possibilities. But, one thing remains true: Engaging with consumers one-on-one helps marketers design and deliver a differentiating and impactful customer experience — and that is the strategy that will pay out for both consumer and brand.  


    Michele Fitzpatrick
    Michele Fitzpatrick's picture

    Michele Fitzpatrick is senior vice president, strategy & insight for The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks, and a speaker at the DMCNY September 2012 luncheon. Reach her at

  • Turn Your “Follower” Relationships into Business and Profit


    2013, January

    Branding and dialogue are excellent first steps – but they don’t pay the rent.  

    To me, customer acquisition is getting somebody to buy from you for the very first time. Customer retention is getting a person who was bought from you at least one time to buy from you again. 

    Branding is getting your product or service to be a part of the decision set when members of your targeted market segment want to purchase the product or service you sell.

    Today, with an emphasis placed on gaining social media "followers," or being "liked," or in some other way engaging with your online suspects, prospects and customers, we need to understand that these efforts cost money and must be measured in terms of revenue and renewability. 

    Consider the amount of thought and effort put into understanding how you can improve your results from a direct mail campaign by just one or two tenths of a percent. You test offers, formats, headlines, and so many others variables in a structured fashion where you can measure and attribute results to tested variables. Consider how you test different mailing lists, and segments of lists to maximize your results.

    It is important to put the same effort and pay attention to the same details when engaging with your followers and other "fan-based" constituents.

    Closed mouths don’t get fed

    Many businesses today are handling their "followers" with kid gloves. They seem to be hesitant to use time-tested techniques to commercialize relationships.

    It is important to recognize that your "followers" chose to initiate a relationship with your business. So you can consider them real prospects, and many of them may already be your customers. You have the opportunity to grow your relationship with them.

    Ask for the order

    A good place to begin is by segmenting your "followers." First, find your customers by matching transactional data. For everyone you can’t identify, ask them how they perceive of their relationship. You can do this directly with a poll, or a survey, or using more subtle tactics. 

    Some marketers will express concern about alienating people in the delicate world of social media. To me, the reality is people will either want to solidify their relationship with you or they won’t. History dictates some of these people will never buy from you. The ones who truly have an interest in your company, products and services will respond to your efforts. This will empower you with knowledge you can use.

    Now you should be on familiar ground. Now that your “followers” are organized by segment, develop strategies for each segment and work your magic.

    Cultivating your “followers” has significant advantages

    Your cost to develop new customers from these prospects will be lower than a traditional acquisition effort since the names are essentially free, and there is already some basic bonding between you and them, which bodes well for anticipated response rates. 

    For retention, or getting your “following” current customers to buy again, social media represents another touch point where you can make an offer, with the added advantage of enhance customer insight from your interactive dialogue.  This makes me wonder: Should we create a new model called XRFM, where a person’s “expressed interest” might prove more predictive than RFM alone?  

    Once you recognize the value of commercializing relationships with your “followers;” once you realize that a good number of them will be responsive to your efforts; and once you accept the fact that many “followers” are going to never become customers; then you will be able to test the value of marketing to the “follower” segments and calculate whether your branding efforts to attract and engage “followers” are significant to your business.


    Myron Gould
    Myron Gould's picture

    Myron Gould is a Professor of Marketing and Management at New York University, and consults on business planning and strategy development. Reach him at, or on Twitter @nyuprof or @bplanwritercom.

  • 28th Annual ‘Silver Apples’ Recognizes Industry’s Best


    2013, January

    As everyone on Broadway knows, in New York, the show must go on!  Hurricane Sandy may have forced the move of the 2012 Silver Apple Gala to the evening of January 24, 2013, but the show went on—as a sell-out.

    The stage lights were shining bright and warm inside the Edison Ballroom, where a packed house of more than 250 extended their congratulations to this year’s Silver Apple recipients – Scott Fenwick, Jim Fosina, Don Hinman, Harvey Markovitz, Pegg Nadler, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, as well as corporate Silver Apple recipient McVicker & Higginbotham, and Golden Apple honoree Leon Henry.

    The Silver Apples honor practitioners in our field – individuals and a corporate contributor who have given 25 years to the betterment of measurable, accountable direct and interactive marketing, all the while showing leadership, vision, passion and commitment. The Special Golden Apple recognizes a half century of service. As Direct Marketing Club of New York president Cyndi Lee stated, “These are inspirational leaders who motivate others to embrace great marketing ideas and lead their teams toward success.”

    Since the first Silver Apples were named in 1985, approximately 225 Silver Apple honors have been bestowed by DMCNY.

    It’s perhaps this very inspiration that also gave the festive evening a somber undertone, in that a longtime leader in our field – the Silver Apple and Golden Apple recipient Lee Epstein – passed away just one day before the gala. James Prendergast, in the evening’s invocation, dedicated the evening to Lee, and quoted Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” 

     “Lee was an ambassador, an educator and a friend – a gentle giant whose door was never closed,” Prendergast said.  Throughout the evening, several recipients invoked a personal and professional testament to Lee, crediting his mentorship and contributions to our marketing discipline, and to his friendship and philanthropy. [The Epstein family has established The Lee and Rose Lansman Epstein Scholarship at The City College Fund, 160 Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall, Room 166, New York, NY 10031;]

    The event being held at the Great White Way, it was also fitting that Co-MCs Joseph Furgiuele (a past honoree) and Pamela Haas kicked the award-giving off with their own Frank Sinatra-like renditions of My Way and New York, New York – with lyrics politely rewritten to toast the Silver Apples. 

    The party was on! Ralph Stevens, a Golden Apple recipient himself in 2011, took the podium to present Leon Henry a Golden Apple for his more than 50 years of service. In his acceptance remarks, Leon noted that when he began in package inserts, there were hardly any competitors. Today, there are more than 2,000 insert distributors, Leon said.  Talk about innovating your way into a niche, and helping to give birth to an entire marketing channel. Leon also had received a Silver Apple in 1992, and his firm Leon Henry Inc., where he is chairman, received the corporate honor in 2006.

    And speaking of entrepreneurs, Pam presented the evening’s first Silver Apple to Jim Fosina, founder and chief executive officer of Fosina Marketing Group. Jim acknowledged Lee Epstein as an “icon and innovator” but also thanked Leon Henry, Arthur Blumenfield and – from Jim’s days at Grolier Enterprises – Dante Cirilli, whom he singled out for showing him how to pick a winning team. “I love accountability. I love the way we stay ahead of the wave of consumer purchase behavior,” said Jim, who also credited his family. “My parents taught me to change my way of believing and doing from ‘I think I can’ to ‘I know I can… and I will’.”

    Martha Rogers, Ph.D., accepted the Silver Apple on behalf of herself and Don Peppers, founding partners of Peppers & Rogers Group, and authors of nine books that have sold more than 1 million copies.  What people may not know is that their 20+-year collaboration began with a 90-second conversation, and that Don had been educated as an aeronautical engineer. Martha also noted the date they first met – January 21, 1990, or “one-two-one” 1990. [Yes, that was Dick Cavett in the room – he is Martha’s husband.]

    Silver Apples honoree Pegg Nadler, president, Pegg Nadler Associates, Inc., did her best to blame everyone else for her being named a recipient this year: her husband, Michael; the past presidents of the DMCNY (who name the Silver Apples recipients each and every year, led by Reggie Brady); past employers Abrams Books, Hadassah, and Metromail among others; the Direct Marketing Association (full-time work at volunteer pay); and past recipients Reggie Brady and Ruth Stevens. Yet the biggest cheer came when the self-proclaimed “database princess” credited the “database queen” Bernice Grossman as her chief source for learning. For the Silver Apple honor, Pegg says she now forgives them all.

    It would take a column twice this long for the list of thank you’s from Professor Harvey Markovitz, clinical associate professor of marketing, Pace University, who noted his professional years at JC Penney, Columbia House and Broadcast Marketing Corp. He thanked most fervently Lee Epstein and William Denhard for their support in helping to launch the Interactive & Direct Marketing Lab, a student-run integrated marketing agency, first at Baruch College and later at Pace. Harvey’s students over the years have garnered more than 100 Collegiate ECHO Awards from the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation.

    Honoree Donald Hinman, Ph.D., senior vice president, data strategy, Epsilon Targeting – widely known in our business as “Dr. Data” – was “Big Data before there was Big Data,” noted Joe Furgiuele, Don having worked at Allant Professional Services, Acxiom Corporation, National Demographics & Lifestyles, Inc., as well as the Arbitron Ratings Corporation. “I’m a numbers guy,” Don said, “I’ve been to every DMA Annual for the past 29 years, and of the 225 Silver Apples recipients, I know 75 of them.” Don also credited Tim Prunk, Phillip Dresden (a Silver Apple honoree from 2000), and former Chief Marketer columnist Richard Levey (now editorial director at Aimia), all of whom were present for the occasion.

    Scott Fenwick, vice president – sales training and development, ValueClick Media, served as MC at the 2011 Silver Apples, and this year it was his turn to receive the honor. His expertise in presenting, negotiating, networking and closing the deal were on display as he shared a coaching technique from another past honoree Andrea Nierenberg:  “Everyone, stand up and reach above your heads with both hands as high as you can.” Then he asked everyone, “Now, reach two inches higher.” Scott thanked Lee Epstein for leading him to B’nai B’rith and for Scott’s subsequent involvement with DMCNY, the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island, the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association and as an adjunct professor at New York University. Scott also noted that it was his mother who introduced him to direct marketing – she was a catalog mail order director!

    The loudest cheering section of the evening came from employees and associates of the corporate honoree, McVicker & Higginbotham, the direct-response services agency behind some of New York City’s most important non-profit institutions: the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Metropolitan Opera and North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital, among others. Perhaps that’s because Tim Kennon leads the McVicker team as the “cheerleader” who said of his staff: “THEY MAKE ME LOOK SO GOOD!!” 

    Among the past Silver Apple honorees at the gala were Stu Boysen, Kathy Duggans-Joseph, JoAnne Manfredi Dunn, Jonah Gitlitz, Richard Goldsmith, Joseph Gomez, Henry “Hank” Hoke, Karen Isenberg (who served as the Silver Apples Gala co-chair this year with Sharon Mahoney), Marjorie Kalter, Liz Kislik, John Papalia, Brian Wolfe, Jerry Messer, Walter Neff, Chris Paradysz, Adrea Rubin, Ron Sichler and John Von Achen. Past honorees who had passed away this past year include Lee Epstein, Elliot Abrams, Arline Feigen, Neil Keating, Jon Lambert and Milt Pierce.

    For full biographies of the 2012 Silver Apple honorees, visit the DMCNY Web site:


    Chet Dalzell
    Chet Dalzell's picture

    Chet Dalzell is an independent public relations strategist and practitioner in the direct and interactive field, with more than 25 years’ experience. Reach him at