Blog Activity

  • The Marketer’s Book of Genesis


    2013, January

    Call it a marketer’s Book of Genesis: Objectives beget strategies beget tactics beget concepts beget execution. A project brief yields a creative brief, which inspires a breakthrough concept and then delivers results-generating executions. At least, that’s the way it should be.

    Unfortunately, in our rush to market and our infatuation with showing off our use of the latest technology, we sometimes skip some steps. So let’s review the importance of following the process. 

    Step 1: Define Your Marketing Objective.  You’d be surprised how many clients say their marketing objective is to make money. Of course. But making money (or, better, improving profitability) is a business objective. A marketing objective is specific to the task of communicating with the people who can give you their money, and the more specific the better. Your objective might be something like acquiring new customers, or renewing members, or changing consumer opinion, or driving traffic to an online or offline site. A marketing objective has a measurable result. 

    Step 2: Develop Your Marketing Strategy.  While objectives are what you want to achieve, strategies are how you’re going to achieve them. Strategies are often confused with tactics. It is a strategy to “test promotional offers,” one tactic of which might be a free trial; a strategy to “appeal to young adults with a push-pull approach,” whose tactics might include using Facebook; and a strategy to “test direct mail formats” might include tactics like dimensional mail. 

    Step 3: Write a Project Brief. There are likely to be many individual projects required to fulfill the marketing strategy. In an ideal world, each should have a project brief. After all, to fulfill on introducing a new product line, you may be sending direct mail to prospects and email to current customers, but these projects will have entirely different requirements. So the Project Brief will describe all the elements of the marketing strategy – including the USP, target audiences, features and benefits – and it will provide the specific details about the assignment, including the media, budget parameters, timing expectations, any brand mandatories, relevant calls-to-action, and so on. It is a “facts and stats” document.   

    Step 4: Write a Creative Brief.  This may at first seem redundant to the Project Brief, because it should reiterate many of the same elements. But while your Project Brief might identify “thick soles” as a feature of your hiking boots and “keeping feet dry” as the benefit, your Creative Brief will re-address these attributes from the perspective of the target audience and in terms of the recommended media. If your audience is college students, you’ll want to tell them that thicker soles are the latest trend in hiking gear and that wet feet get smelly, and you might recommend reaching them on Facebook or through a branded style blog. But if you’re trying to sell to their parents, you might be better served with an email touting the durability of thicker soles and the reduced risk of catching cold. It is in the Creative Brief that you and your creative team start to shape the messaging and its delivery. 

    Here, too, it is important to remember the difference between strategies and tactics. It is a creative strategy to build an interactive microsite for your microbrew. It is a creative tactic to post a flash-animated drinking game or beer-infused recipes. 

    And, finally, Step 5: Know the Difference Between a Concept and an Execution. It’s standard practice to ask a creative team for at least three concepts for a new assignment. But remember that the difference between a concept and an execution is like the difference between a strategy and a tactic. 

    A concept is about an idea, which is much harder to come by. Changing the position of elements on the page or changing the color of the background is a variation in execution. So be bold enough to dig for real ideas, and savvy enough not to throw them out just because you don’t like green. 


    Penny Vane
    Penny Vane's picture

    Penny Vane  is the name-on-the-door at Vane&Friends, a marketing and creative services consultancy.  A past Silver Apple winner and past president of DMCNY, she has 30-something years of experience in b2c, b2b and non-profit sectors.  Reach her at

  • 2013 March 14th Luncheon Followup

    Additional Links: 2013 March 14th Luncheon Presentation

    The Magille Report by Ken Magille:

    Want to make more money with your email program? Simple. Send more of it.
    That was the gist of the message Dela Quist delivered in a wide-ranging presentation last week to members of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.

    eM+C by Melissa Campinelli

    When it comes to email marketing, marketers have to free themselves from the fear of being perceived as spammers and go ahead and send more email messages.

     This was the main message delivered by Dela Quist , the outspoken and unconventional CEO of email agency Alchemy Worx during his keynote address last week at the Direct Marketing Club of New York’s March luncheon at the Yale Club


    File attachment: 

  • Unlocking the brand potential of your email campaigns

    Additional Links: 2013 March 14th Luncheon Presentation | 2013 March Luncheon Article

    Current thinking in email is dominated by DM techniques with a particular focus on RFM leading to an overreliance on relevance, timing and ever tighter targeting. But what about branding?

    In his keynote Dela Quist will demonstrate how to leverage the brand impact of your email campaigns.

    You will find out:

    • Why you need to develop a brand strategy for your email campaigns
    • How even unopened emails can influence sales and conversions in other channels
    • How to think beyond open and click rates
    • Why Reach and Frequency should be your new objectives 

    Event Sponsorship: 

    Event Sponsor: Emma
    Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 11:00am
    Networking & Cocktails: 11:45 am
    Luncheon & Presentation: 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • 2013 January Luncheon Followup

    Additional Links: 2013 Event Follow-up | 2013 Event Presentation

    Outlook 2013: Marketing Predictions From Winterberry Group's Bruce Biegel – Ginger Conlon, Editor-in-Chief, Direct Marketing News:

    Reflecting on marketing in the U.S. in 2012, Biegel noted that it was “a very predictable year.” Marketing dollars continued to shift from traditional to digital channels, yet spending in traditional and direct channels experienced modest growth, buoyed by the summer Olympics and the U.S. elections.


  • Chet Dalzell's picture

    Hurricane Sandy: DMCNY Moves 2012 Silver Apple Award Gala to…. January 24, 2013

    Direct and Interactive Marketing Leaders Share Honors at Annual Gala 
Now Set for Thursday Evening, January 24, 2013, at New York’s Edison Ballroom, Times Square

    NEW YORK, November 6, 2012 – Because of the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, the Direct Marketing Club of New York ( announced today that it is moving its 2012 Silver Apple Awards to January 2013. The Silver Apples recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to direct and interactive marketing, during a career spanning at least 25 years. The gala to mark the awards now will be held Thursday evening, January 24, at New York’s The Hotel Edison, beginning at 6 pm EST.

    In an email statement sent November 5, the DMCNY Silver Apples Committee stated: 

    The Direct Marketing Club of New York is postponing the 2012 Silver Apple Awards Gala until January 24, 2013.

    Due to the effects of hurricane Sandy and the impending Nor’easter Wednesday and Thursday, it was decided not to hold the Silver Apple Awards this Thursday as originally scheduled. Many companies are still recovering and individuals are still experiencing difficulties at home. 

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who were severely affected, especially those who lost homes and whose businesses were impaired.

    No reasonable dates were available at the Edison Ballroom during November and December. The January date was determined to be the best available. This will allow everyone to recover and regroup from last week’s devastating storm.

    The 2012 Silver Apples honorees include:

    • Scott Fenwick, Vice President – Sales Training & Development, 
      ValueClick Media (New York, NY)
    • Jim Fosina, Founder & CEO,
      Fosina Marketing Group (Danbury, CT)
    • Donald “Don” P. Hinman, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Data Strategy,
      Epsilon Targeting (Lafayette, CO)
    • Prof. Harvey Markovitz, Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing,
      Pace University (New York, NY)
    • Pegg Nadler, President,
      Pegg Nadler Associates, Inc. (New York, NY)
    • Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., Founding Partners,
      Peppers & Rogers Group (Stamford, CT)

    The corporate Silver Apple Award honoree for 2012 is McVicker & Higginbotham (New York, NY), a provider of direct marketing services to schools, hospitals, museums, performing art centers and various other non-profit entities.

    In addition, the Direct Marketing Club of New York will bestow a special Golden Apple to Leon Henry, president, Leon Henry, Inc. (Hartsdale, NY), for his more than 50 years of leadership in the direct marketing field. The Golden Apple is rarely bestowed, and this is only the fourth time in 28 years that a Golden Apple recipient has been announced.

    Those who are registered for November 8, and who are unable to attend January 24, may seek a full reimbursement from the club. Ticket sales for the new date are underway and space is limited to 28 tables. For reimbursements, new tickets and table availability contact Stuart Boysen, executive director, DMCNY, at, (516) 746-6700; or Cyndi Lee at cyndilee@sms-inc.comand 201.865.5800, ext. 2203. 

    A full listing of winners’ biographies is available here 

  • The Meaning of the Silver Apple Award


    2011, September

    The Silver Apple identifies the direct marketing leaders in the New York area who have distinguished themselves by both their professional accomplishments and their commitment to service.  The people who have received Silver Apples in years past have made vital contributions to the growth of our industry. They have volunteered to participate on boards, committees and commissions. They have represented our interests to both the government and to allied industries. And they have committed to educating the young professionals who’ve chosen to make direct marketing their career.

    The Silver Apple awards honor the industry’s notable innovators, the leaders who have celebrated 25 years or more of distinguished service in direct marketing.  Just as important, they are people who have made time to give something back — devoting their time and talent in promoting the goals of the DMCNY and in fostering the growth of our industry.

    The Direct Marketing Club of New York was founded in 1926.The mission throughout our 85-year history has been to promote the desire to prepare through education.  

    Because of the importance of our mission, the DMCNY holds a prominent place among the nation’s regional organizations — even in the New York metropolitan area where we share the limelight with seven other DM organizations, including The DMA. Today, our mission is more relevant than ever before, as new technologies, new challenges, and new opportunities require us to continue to communicate the standards for excellence in direct marketing.  The Silver Apple recipients exemplify this mission.

    When the Silver Apple awards were first presented in 1985, the then-president of the DMCNY, Mal Dunn, spoke to the 19 awardees with words that still resonate today.  He said, in part, There are those who claim that leadership success is largely a matter of circumstance.  You are either born into a position where leadership is finally thrust upon you, desired or not, or you just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

    This may be so.  Certainly the direct marketing industry for the last few decades has been a good place to be.  

    But true leadership in our industry does not come as easily as simply being here.  This is an industry that proves its successes.  Amateurs, charlatans and failures are quickly exposed.

    Direct marketing leadership means you command the respect of your colleagues and those outside the business. You must be an innovative thinker, as measured by the percent of return. You will also be self-confident, blessed with infectious optimism, and, on occasion, something of a maverick, as measured by the number of times you are called upon to speak.

    But you will also have gone beyond the standard benchmarks set for success, such as title or corner office.  You will have also done your share (or more) of training, education, and tireless toil for the improvement of industry standards.  Your willingness to participate in extensive conference and committee work will have been demonstrated – by doing.

    I am so proud of the Silver Apples and its contribution to our club and to direct marketing as a whole.


    JoAnne Dunn
    JoAnne Dunn's picture

     JoAnne Dunn is founder and CEO of Alliant Cooperative Database Solutions, past president of DMCNY and a 2005 Silver Apple honoree.  Reach her at

  • The Silver Apple Awards: Present at the Creation


    2011, September

    With the Silver Apple awards coming up in November, Postings asked Jim Prendergast to recount how the event came into being 28 years ago.

    It was the mid-eighties, and DMCNY was hitting a plateau in its growth and position in the direct marketing world.  Many of the old Hundred Million crowd — the original club that later evolved into

    DMCNY — were starting to stray. The club was experiencing stiff competition in New York for direct marketers’ time and attention, what with about six other groups running meetings in the city, along with

    the local presence of DMA and DM Days in NY. We were spread thin. We needed a boost, a charge, a spark.

    Mal Dunn was club president at the time, and he could always get volunteers, or at least generate the best thinking from people around him. He invited Tom Knowlton of Reader’s Digest and me to meet with him one day, to discuss ideas, people and the future of the club.  In those days, with these three characters, there was never a better venue than a good lunch at a nice bar to get the discussion going.  None of us had any preconceived ideas or plans when we met.  The setting was the corner booth at the Bull and Bear, a well-known watering hole on the Lexington Avenue side of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.  Nothing was too good for this trio. After a nice healthy lunch and a few well-iced drinks, we got down to a serious discussion.

    Considering the make-up of this group, Mal probably selected right.  Tom was a strategist, Mal was an organizer, and I was the promotional idea guy.  After an hour or so, the idea just popped out: How about giving out awards based on service, achievement and contribution to the club?  Simple. Let’s make it 25 years.  Let’s call it the Silver Stars Awards. These are our Stars.  Then, with the city itself picking up on the Big Apple concept, the name evolved into the Silver Apples, thanks to the bright idea of Jerry Reitman.  The concept was solid.  

    But now, the work had to be done: Pick the prospective honorees, check the resumes, convince the members and the market, and do all the promotion. The idea was an immediate hit, and was enthusiastically received by the club.  Everyone jumped in to help.  We had full-page ads in The New York Times and the trade pubs.  A big splash.  And just what the club needed to re-energize.

    Those first recipients were truly honored.  It was our own Hall of Fame.  Just read over the names of those selected in that first year, in 1985: Dick Benson, Annette Brodsky, John Caples, Larry Chait, Tom Collins, Henry Cowen, Bob Dale, Robert F. DeLay, Andi Emerson, Bob Fisler, Rose Harper, Lou Kleid, Ed Mayer, Harold Mertz, Walter Prescott, Stan Rapp, Frank Vos, Walter Weintz, Lester Wunderman.  They are the people who helped build this industry.  More than that, they were the teachers, the leaders and the donors for those who followed.  The 28 years, with 228 recipients, getting recognition for themselves and the club, and honoring the essential service and devotion to excellence of direct marketers everywhere.  The DMCNY has really created something great.


    Jim Prendergast
    Jim Prendergast's picture

     Jim Prendergast, 56 years in direct marketing, is a two-time past president of DMCNY. Reach him at

  • Enough About Marketing – What About Yourself? Personal Finance Tips


    2011, September

    We are happy to tap the wisdom and experience of David Lord, DMCNY’s accountant for over 10 years. He’s been a great resource for the club, and for those members who haven’t met him, be sure to introduce yourself at the next club event.

    Here are some ideas, tips and information to help you, your family, your friends and your business associates deal with the everyday financial issues you face.

    EARN MORE INTEREST:  Savings bonds are back.  Series I bonds currently pay you 4.6% and adjust each year for inflation.  And there is no state or local tax to pay.  Children may even pay no federal tax.  You can buy bonds online for as little as $25.  The same is true for Series EE bonds, which pay you an effective rate of 3.53% (but with no inflation adjustment). Go to to learn more.

    LEAVING YOUR JOB:  If you have money in your employer’s retirement plan, be sure to roll it over directly into your own IRA when you leave a job.  Do not have a check sent to you, or you may owe income tax and penalties.  If you are between 55 and 59, you can withdraw money without paying the 10% penalty.

    PAYING FOR COLLEGE: is a good place to learn about the nerve-wracking FAFSA form, financial aid and how much you will be expected to pay for college.  It also has helpful payment, saving, and loan calculators.

    LENDING MONEY TO FAMILY:  Every family has members who need financial help at times.  But lending money to a sibling almost always creates more problems than it solves. Remember that you are entitled to say no (thoughtfully).  And do not lend or give away more money than you can afford. If you decide to help, make clear any conditions attached, and find out about any tax implications in advance.

    DO YOU OWE TAXES?  We have all seen the national ads claiming they can reduce the amount you owe the IRS.  Be careful.  Some of the most prominent advertisers have themselves been investigated, sued, fined, and even been hit with tax liens by the IRS for bad behavior.  The truth is, most people do not qualify for a reduction under the strict tax rules.  If you decide you want to try for some relief, a local CPA or enrolled agent is a better bet than a lawyer.

    IRS NOTICES:  Scammers are now using those dreaded three letters, I - R - S, to try to get your private financial information.  They’ll ask you to fill out a form—usually by email—to receive a tax credit, a stimulus payment, or an unclaimed refund, to update your info on file, or any number of other reasons.  They may even telephone you.  The IRS does not send registration forms by email. If you are contacted by a suspected scammer, call the IRS at 800-829-1040, or report the incident to

    UNMARRIED HOUSEHOLDS:  If two unmarried people own a home (usually that means both names are on the deed) and both are on the mortgage, you can deduct on your separate income tax returns only the real estate taxes and mortgage interest that you each pay separately.  You aren’t allowed to split the deductions any way you like.  But with some proper planning, you may be able to shift the deductions around and save some money.

    YOUR CAR:  By taking an easy online driver safety class for less than $30, you (and your kids) save up to 10% on your insurance for 3 years, and remove 4 points from your record.


    David Lord
    David Lord's picture

    David Lord is a CPA who concentrates in small businesses, taxes and estates, withoffices in Westchester and Long Island. Reach him at His article is not meant to provide investment or legal advice. For that you should consult a properly licensed professional.

  • Chet Dalzell's picture

    2012 September Luncheon Coverage

    As posted by Target Marketing

    Direct Marketing Club of New York(DMCNY) hosted an engaging panel discussion regarding the use of direct mail in a multichannel world, and the panelists included representatives from Citigroup, Gerber Life and The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks.

    The representatives included Linda Gharib, senior vice president, digital marketing, for Citi's Global Consumer Marketing & Internet division; David Rosenbluth, vice president, marketing, Gerber Life Insurance Company; and, from the agency side, panel moderator Pam Haas, who is both vice president, sales, for agency services at Harte-Hanks (and first vice president for DMCNY), and Michele Fitzpatrick, senior vice president, strategy and insight, The Agency Inside Harte-Hanks.

    Hearing from two financial service brands, and an agency that services brands in several markets (tech, consumer package goods, automotive, insurance, pharma and more), packed the house. I'm not sure if it was the topic or the brands who spoke, or both, that was the draw—but the information imparted prompted lots of audience interest and questions.

    First, customer acquisition—at least in the financial services area—still appears to be very dependent on mail. At Gerber, Rosenbluth said, as many as a third of new business policies are still generated by direct mail, even as the brand is "omni-channel"—digital (including web site, search, display ads, email), direct-response television, as well as direct mail. For Citi, the brand is positioned No. 2 in the nation by Target Marketing in its "Top 50 Mailers" ranking for 2012 (which is ranked by overall revenue, not mail volume), Gharib said, solidifying its importance in both acquisition and retention.

    Fitzpatrick agreed, noting that in financial services, where marketing is modeled most precisely for risk and performance, direct mail remains an acquisition workhorse, particularly on new product launches. For automotive and pharma verticals, however, where as much as 80 percent of transactions are researched anonymously beforehand online, digital media is used for hand-raising, and direct mail may be then used to deliver a brochure of other information in a highly segmented way to close the deal. "Consumer preferences [for media] are situational," Fitzpatrick said.

    Who gets credit for attribution, when a multichannel communications mix produces a desired response? At Citi, Gharib said, such discussions are a "work in progress," where the final interaction point currently gets the credit, whether that is chat, direct mail, email or some triggered communication. Adding to the multichannel attribution discussion is the mix of advertising purposes—some are pure branding messages, while others are intended to elicit a response, but both may compel or influence customer behavior in some discernible (or indiscernible) manner. Hence, there is complexity in the attribution discussion.

    Yes, indeed, says Rosenbluth, where "allowances" are given for each channel in regard to the brand's most importance metric to manage: total costs to convert a policy. Currently, "last touch" gets the attribution on response, but the policy conversion metric is the bigger-picture measurement, where everyone gets to take some credit.

    Fitzpatrick pointed to recent Forrester research where "fractional attribution"—first touch, mid-touch and last-touch on the path to purchase share credit—and "engagement" is modeled, rather than response (alone). Every brand should undertake a channel impact study to determine, as best it can, the impact of incremental sales as a result of a multichannel customer experience, while also researching receiver reaction research. Clearly, direct mail, email, chat and other channels can be both or either "conversation starters" and "conversation extenders," but analytics is the only way to know the role of the channel for any given customer.

    "There's credibility in paper," Gharib remarked, "that helps with both the brand and its consideration." Where email is cluttered, direct mail largely is not.

    At Gerber, Rosenbluth, there really is no brand spend, all market spending is intended to produce engagement.

    Fitzpatrick sees almost all "below the line" spending getting a branding blend—branding and direct marketing have come together. All the panelists agreed: it's really about the consumer experience across channels, and having a database that enables customer recognition and a full customer view. Having tons of data is not enough—it's having technology and processes in place for customer data integration and analytics to create smart engagement rules.

    The verdict? Direct mail is and will remain a vital part of the media mix—because it's an anchor in the consumer's experience and brand consideration mix. As digital gets more clutter, boy that mailbox is looking pretty