Now Announcing our 2018 Silver Apple Honoree
Chief Revenue Officer, Voxy
By Ginger Conlon
Anita Absey has dedicated her career to helping marketers transform data and technology into assets they can use to establish and sustain profitable customer relationships.
Her marketing industry journey began as a sales representative at Wiland Services and traversed a variety of roles and responsibilities at Acxiom, Abacus Direct, and DoubleClick—helping each of these companies grow. Anita then spent 15 years on the executive team at Return Path before joining Voxy as chief revenue officer. Additionally, she has served on the DMA Ethics Operating Committee and Email Experience Council (eec), including time as co-chair and chair of each.
Anita’s presence, success, and influence across the industry has positively impacted the way countless marketers do business today. And her work with the DMA and EEC has been instrumental in setting standards that have driven the industry forward.
In a conversation with MKTGinsight for DMCNY, Anita shared some history, advice, and insights.
What drew you to marketing?
I would like to say that it was deliberate, but it was actually accidental. I began my career on Wall Street, and early on had some friends that were in the business who happened to introduce me to colleagues of theirs. Through that networking I fell into a sales position and was intrigued by the concept of using technology and data to help marketers build their business. I fell in love with it, but I didn’t choose it. It chose me.
Tell us about a particular career highlight or turning point.
I’ve always been on the vendor or the provider side of the business, so I’ve had an opportunity to see a lot of different marketers embrace a lot of different techniques and technologies over the years to improve their relationships with customers and prospects. A turning point for me was actually having the opportunity to do that work on a global stage. When I was at Return Path, I worked with colleagues to open up our markets in Europe, Brazil, and Australia. It was gratifying to see how everything I had learned from my customers and everything we brought to market was relevant worldwide.
What excites you most about marketing right now?
People-based marketing. The fact that marketing is so personal and relevant when it’s based on a consumer’s interests and wants.
Share a treasured customer story.
Early in my career I worked at a company that had a particularly fantastic partnership with a client—to the degree that we were viewed as a critical extension of their marketing department. That connectivity not only helped their business through our investment in delivering results, but it also led to turning what was a great professional relationship into an amazing personal rapport between the teams. That relationship complemented the intense business planning and functioning with fun, engaging personal times.
Tell us a favorite story about data.
Back in the very early days when I was at Infobase, we were doing data overlays on customer databases, which was novel at the time. While working with a large insurer, doing overlays of demographic and socioeconomic data on their database, the profile and segmentation scheme that emerged from that work actually defied some of the assumptions that they had about the characteristics for their customers’ profile. The insights we provided them helped them make subtle changes in their communications and targeting to customers, which improved the overall risk profile of their customer base. It was gratifying to see how data could affirm or deny assumptions and enable our client to make decisions that helped improve the risk profile of their business.
What’s your go-to marketing metric?
Conversion rate. It helps marketers understand the true performance of a program by showing that the program was able to actually convert prospects—or get customers to buy a new product. It beats clicks and open rates for sure!
What advice do have for someone who’s just starting out in marketing?
Always be curious and open, be adaptive, challenge the norms, keep learning, embrace change, get involved with customers, get involved in the industry, and really be present.
What was the piece of business advice that you’ve received?
It’s not so much advice as something that has come up many times in conversations with colleagues: It’s essential to earn the respect of your colleagues, your peers, and your team. It’s a hard one, but it will help you be successful in almost any endeavor you embrace.
Share an inspiring quote or personal motto that guides you.
Hope is not a strategy. Your actions have to be data-based, not hopeful. Similarly, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Unless you have data that points you to the actions and decisions that are best for the business, you’re running blind.
What’s something surprising about you?
I’m very outgoing, expressive, and extroverted, so I think it surprises people that one of my favorite things to do is to sit quietly with a book for hours.
Share a few of your interests.
I love to cook and entertain on the weekends. I’ve got a summer home that I frequent, so I’m very popular in the summer. It’s always fun to try new recipes and cook for friends.
What’s your hidden skill?
I make a mean bloody Mary.
Join us as we honor Anita Absey and all the 2018 Silver Apples Honorees onThursday, November 8. Register here.
Recognize Anita Absey, 2018 Silver Apple Honoree, with our new featured program page “Salute the Honorees!” Your congratulatory quote will be added to the event program for Fran to have as a keepsake from the evening. Your quote will be featured in up to 50 words followed by your name and company.