Blog Activity

  • Direct Marketing Club of New York Announces 30th Silver Apple Award Honorees in 2014

    Direct and Interactive Marketing Leaders Share Honors at Annual Gala on Thursday Evening, November 6, 2014, at New York’s Edison Ballroom, Times Square


    NEW YORK, August 21, 2014 – The Direct Marketing Club of New York ( announced today the recipients of its 2014 Silver Apple Awards, now in its 30th year. The Silver Apples recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding contributions to the growth and practice of direct and interactive marketing, during a career spanning at least 25 years. A gala to celebrate honorees – the premiere event of DMCNY’s full slate of programming, professional development and networking activities – will be held Thursday evening, November 6, at New York’s Edison Ballroom. 

    The Silver Apple 2014 honorees include:

    • Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman & CEO, OgilvyOne Worldwide
    • Tim Kennon, President, McVicker & Higginbotham
    • Pam Larrick, CEO, Javelin Marketing Group
    • Tim Litle, Founder & Chairman, Litle & Company
    • Lon Mandel, President, SMS Marketing Services
    • Debbie Roth, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Japs-Olson Company
    • Dawn Zier, President and CEO, Nutrisystem
    • Corporrate:  Fosina Marketing Group (Danbury Ct)

    "These individuals and our corporate honoree represent what’s best-of-the-best in our field," said DMCNY Club President Pam Haas. "Dynamism, professionalism, marketing prowess and giving back – Silver Apple honorees truly are ambassadors for our discipline of integrated marketing. This being our Silver Apples’ 30th anniversary, we know it’s going to be an exciting event with a great turnout – and to honor these individuals and organization recipient in this way, it shows the camaraderie that lives throughout our community. The honorees are joining an elite group of direct and digital visionaries, many of whom will be in attendance.”

    The 2014 Silver Apple recipients were chosen by the Club’s past presidents. The recipients must have at least 25 years’ experience in the business, a commitment to volunteerism and leadership, and a record of vital contributions to the growth of the industry.

    This year’s event marks the 30th anniversary of the award, and a special gala will be held in Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom, at 240 West 47th Street near Times Square in New York on Thursday, November 6, 2014, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. ET.  Registration is available at

    Since 1985, a total of 220 individuals and 18 companies have received DMCNY Silver Apples honors – with this year’s seven individuals and one corporation set to join this group.

    Each year, the Silver Apple Award event also serves as a key fundraising event to support New York-area programs and scholarships for college-level educational curricula and content in direct and interactive marketing. Ticket sales are underway and space will be limited to 30 tables. For pricing and availability contact Stuart Boysen, executive director, DMCNY, at, (516)746-6700; or Chris Montana at or 845-627-6600, ext. 216.

    A full listing of winners’ biographies is available here:

    About Direct Marketing Club of New York
    The Direct Marketing Club of New York ( has served the direct marketing field since its founding in 1926 – and today encompasses all facets of integrated data-driven marketing across all media categories. Serving the Greater New York region through its luncheons, networking and website, DMCNY is a leading source of current education and information in the field of measurable marketing.  DMCNY also provides substantial financial support in the form of scholarships to New York City colleges and universities where direct and interactive marketing are taught.

  • What You Need to Know About DRTV Today


    February, 2014

    Today, $150 billion of consumer products in the U.S. are sold through DRTV, and between 20% and 40% of TV households buy from DRTV.

    1.    So, what is DRTV? And what's the difference between DRTV and regular TV? 

    Direct response television is a form of marketing used to generate responses from prospective consumers, as a direct result of the marketing campaign. DRTV is often broken down into three subcategories: lead generation, product direct sales, or service direct sales. The difference between DRTV and traditional TV is as simple as a URL or 1-800 number. Media that has been designated DR based on the presence of a URL or 1-800 number can be purchased at a discount, versus standard TV advertising (brand advertising), thus ensuring media efficiencies. On average, DR prices are 30-50% lower.

    2.    Who uses DRTV? 

    Chances are you've seen the old “yell-and-sell” infomercials, with pitchmen like Billy Mays, but those days have passed, and DRTV has taken on an entirely new tone. Today, it's used by more brands than you probably realize: Estee Lauder, American Express, L'Oreal, Bose, KitchenAid, Capital One, Hanes, Keurig, Vanity Fair, Dyson, Garnier, Fab, Travelocity, Playtex, ShoeDazzle, Maybelline, and many more.

    3.    Why DRTV? 

    Direct response television is a highly effective customer acquisition medium that offers broad exposure to build your brand while driving response and measurable sales. Tracking and measuring performance can be drilled down to the level of individual airings, allowing brands to cost effectively reach a segmented audience based on daypart, channel, location, or type of programming.

    4.    What should I know before considering DRTV?

    Step one is getting to know your customers and their journey. It is mission critical to know where your customers spend, what they watch, and how they are influenced by various media: print, radio, TV, direct mail, out-of-home, mobile, and social. Use data-driven insight, research tools, and emerging technology to create a holistic view of your consumer. Recognize that the overarching goal of DRTV campaigns is to either push continuity programs or drive to retail—or a combination of the two. Not only are these the areas that hold the greatest potential for profit, they are crucial to developing a business model that remains effective at scale.  

    5.    Give me a few hints! What are the keys to success?

    One major key to success is creating a seamless customer experience between TV, online, and retail, by streamlining messaging, creative, and in-store signage. To do so, you must surround customers with relevant messaging to ensure a frictionless path to purchase. In addition, establish metrics and benchmarks that ensure a clear line of sight to success. Savvy marketers will consistently test their campaigns to not only mitigate risk but constantly optimize campaigns to drive the highest possible level of ROI, retail impact, and scalability. 


    Monica Smith
    Monica Smith's picture

    Monica C. Smith is founder and CEO of Marketsmith, Inc., and a recent luncheon speaker at DMCNY.  Reach her at

  • Pre-testing: A Better Way to Beat the Control


    February, 2014

    The A/B split test is as fundamentally sound, as it is slow, expensive and inefficient. 

    Direct mail testing—even for high-volume mailers—means putting a finite number of possible tests in market.  These tests are either incremental changes or wholesale redesigns.  The former usually assures incremental gain/loss, and the latter requires a lot of risk and reputational capital.    

    Truth is, the vast majority of tests fail.  For two reasons.   
    1)   The control is hard to beat.  It benefits immensely from something your test package can never have—exposure.  Your target audience, however large, is still finite.  You mail the same people over and over.  Even non-buyers are exposed to the control. 

    2)   Coming up with a test, or 10 tests or 100, for a single campaign is like searching for a needle in the haystack.  The number of possible test packages is infinite, and you are forced to choose an imperceptibly small percentage of them to mail.    

    In split testing, the odds are against you.  With a complete redesign, the odds are even more onerous.  The A/B test will tell you if the new package test wins or not.  But it cannot tell you why.  Perhaps there are components within the complete redesign that are clear winners, but are getting drowned out by the weaker elements.  

    So, what is a better alternative?  Look no further than the consumer package goods industry for an idea.  CPG marketer do lots of in-market testing, also lots of product development work in advance.  By comparison, the direct marketing world does very little. 

    The methodology now available to direct marketers is sophisticated, but simple and intuitive.  In short, It is an online testing program through which your target audience evaluates thousands of different direct mail package ideas in mere minutes.  

    The secret to its success, and why this pre-testing matches up with live test results so well, is the ability to replicate real-world choice and decision making by:

    1-  Showing the target audience concepts, packages or offers holistically, just as they view them home. 

    2-  Asking the target audience answer one question—overall preference—within a few seconds, the same amount of time you get before your package is thrown in the trash.  

    Behind the scenes is very sophisticated statistical modeling to answer the question we really want to know, which is Why?  You end up with scores for every single test element, which may encompass 30 or 40 different component parts of a direct mail package (OE, letter, buck slip, reply form) and, in turn, thousands of package combinations.  

    The business upside is four fold:  
    - Test exponentially more ideas in a radically shorter period of time.
    -   Put fewer tests in the mail, and at higher volume, to get to rollout faster.
    -    Find out exactly what impact each component has on preference and response.  
    -  Test big ideas, those that would never make it in the mail unless you have empirical proof they can work, in a low cost, low risk environment. 

    A/B split testing method has been around for decades, and yet direct marketing has changed dramatically, with more channels, better targeting, better production methods and now, a better way to beat the control.


    Chris Locker
    Chris Locker's picture

    Chris Locker is EVP of marketing and strategy at The Consumer Voice, in the Minneapolis area.  Reach him at

  • Get your summer on at the DMCNY networking social. Catch up with your colleagues at Hurley’s on July 22. Sandals not required.

    You know it’ll be fun…

    Come rub a few suntanned elbows with us at our next get-together on Tuesday July 22 from 6pm – 9pm. Hurley’s is putting out a great spread of hot appetizers, plus you get one free drink to get the party started.

    And here's an offer you can't refuse – register yourself and bring one or more clients for free. Once you register, send Stu Boysen ( the name, company and email address of your client guest(s). Stu will register them for free and they'll also get a free drink.

    $25 for DMCNY Members. $35 at the door or for non-members. So sign up today at

    Bring your business cards and your best summery smile.
    See you there! 

    *NOTE: venue is not handicap accessible

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 6:00pm
    6:00pm - 9:00pm

    Member Price: 


    Non-Member Price: 

  • Your Email Reputation Depends on These Top 10 Must-Knows


    February, 2014

    Email marketing is still a top priority for marketers who seek leverage in their ability to target customers with relevant offers. But it’s very concerning when you realize 20% of emails don’t make it to the consumer’s inbox, according to data from ReturnPath.

    Getting delivered requires some due diligence and care, but it also means giving consumers what they want. Web mail providers pay attention when consumers flag an email as spam, and when they leave the email unopened.  Here are the 10 ways to improve your email marketing:

    1.       Email Append, Direct:  Today, it’s a risky move to append email addresses to your database and then email those customers without an opt-in. Many email service providers will not allow their customers to use this method, because it can hurt the sender reputation.

    2.      Email Append, Indirect:  Appending your list to a third party list and emailing customers through the third party is still okay—on the surface. However, it’s highly recommended that you use a positive opt-in method, requiring the customer to click on a link and give their permission.

    3.       Email Change of Address (ECOA): This service, which is not recommended, provides a new email address if old one is no longer working.  While the majority of consumers have more than one email address, it’s important to remember that email permission is based on a particular email address, not a customer record. When the email address goes bad, so does your permission.

    4.      Cleansing: Take a hard look at your list.  Remove those hard bounces and any soft bounces that have occured a few times. When you send emails to bad addresses again and again, it hurts your reputation, wastes your money and impacts your ROI.

    5.       Filter Out Inactives:  Consider only communicating with customers who have engaged (via opens or clicks, for example) with you in the past 90 days This keeps your list fresh, improves your metrics and mitigates any deliverability impact of using old addresses.

    6.      Email Verification of Address (EVOA):  Use EVOA to verify that email addresses are correct.   Give your subscriber an opportunity to fix them, in real-time if possible.

    7.       Organic Acquisition:  Look across your customer’s touch points with your brand and find opportunities to offer an opt-in. Look at web sites, social networks or even in-store locations. Build your list with customers who indicate that they want to receive your messages, to ensure relevancy.

    8.      Preference Center:  Create a preference center to give subscribers the ability to change their frequency, channel or content types.  Put them in control of the message.

    9.      Monitor Delivery:  Watch your email’s performance, by campaign and in aggregate. Watch for trends that indicate emails are not being delivered—and act quickly. 

    10.   Mobile:  As more consumers move toward mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, leverage mobile-aware emails to ensure relevancy based on the device they are viewed on, as well as the content they deliver.

    Remember that your subscribers are interested in your message, but it’s easy to lose their love. Relevant messages that matter will keep them opening and clicking, and will help you maintain a good email sender reputation—in a world where reputation is everything.


    Jeanette Kocsis
    Jeanette Kocsis's picture

    Jeannette Kocsis is  EVP, digital engagement, at the Agency Inside Harte-Hanks. Reach her at

  • 14 Call-To-Action Tips to Boost Response


    May, 2013

    Think about the Call to Action (CTs) as an advertisement for your offer. CTAs are an effective tool to drive traffic to your landing page and increase conversion rates. Creating persuasive, powerful calls to action isn't easy, but here are some tips and practices that you can test.

    1.       Use value-laden and actionable copy such as “Download Now,” “Get Your Free Trial” or “Speak to an Expert.”  Your copy objective is to get to the point and create trust, urgency and value.

    2.       Use a CTA only to offer something of real value to your visitor. CTAs should not be used for branding.

    3.       Adding the specific offer in the CTA makes it stronger. For example: “Subscribe Now and Save 80%,” which is better than just “Subscribe Now.”

    4.       Place CTAs above the fold and along the visitor’s eye path.

    5.       Use bold, contrasting colors in your CTAs so they don’t blend into the content.

    6.       Make your CTA one of the bigger, more prominent objects on a page.

    7.       Design the CTA to resemble a button, by adding bevels, shadows, and hover effects.

    8.       Make your CTA stand out by surrounding it with plenty of white space.

    9.       Link your CTAs to a dedicated landing page, not your home page.

    10.   Too many CTAs will distract your visitors. A CTA is meant to direct visitors to a specific course of action, so limit yourself to a primary CTA and possibly a secondary CTA only.

    11.   Experiment with and test your CTAs to know what design, copy and placement works best.

    12.   Add keyword-rich ALT tags so your CTA adds search value to the page.

    13.   Mobile optimize your CTAs so any device can see them. 

    14.   Personalization is a good way to improve your CTA’s effectiveness. Create different CTAs for different personas. 


    Brian Snider
    Brian Snider's picture

    Brian Snider is president of The GRI Marketing Group, Inc., and past president of DMCNY.  Reach him at

  • Bill Baird's picture

    May 2014 Luncheon Summary

    The Cross-Device Manifesto
    Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 11:30am
    Presenter: Kurt Hawks, GM – Mobile, Conversant, Inc.

    The first half of this presentation focused on statistics about cross-platform consumer behavior.  The second half focused on strategic and tactical logistics. 

    Cross-platform (or cross-device) technology refers to consumers’ use of multiple devices to conduct an activity, either simultaneously or in sequence.  In the world of commerce, it occurs when a task is begun on one platform (for example, using a smart phone to research a purchase), and then continued on another (for example, completing that purchase on a desktop PC).   

    The biggest game-changer, the one device which has single-handedly driven cross-platform marketing to the top of every CMO’s strategic planning checklist, has been the smartphone (i.e. a cell phone with access to the internet through a web-enabled browser.)

    -  25% of smartphone users utilize mobile as their sole source to the Internet
    -  14 hours a day the average consumer keeps their phone within arm’s reach
    -  78% use their Smartphone for help with shopping
    -  40% of all Black Friday traffic on retail sites was from smartphones
    -  3 connected devices are utilized by the average user
    -  41 apps are downloaded on the average smartphone

    -  Tablets have one of the fastest adoption rates in history
       (penetration from 10% to 42% in four years)
    -  Primary growth in digital device usage is now in Mobile & Tablet (not PC’s)
    -  Average daily time spent with mobile devices is now greater than the PC
    -  Time spent with smartphone apps is 4x-5x that of smartphone browsers

    -  67% of users start shopping on 1 device and complete the sale on another 

    The old media approach was to manage platforms as individual silos, with each one having its own budget, metrics and delivery by device.  This results in poor visibility into cross-platform behavior. 

    The cross-platform approach is to use holistic planning and common metrics, including cross-channel interplay, in order to understand the buyer’s purchase journey across all channels.  This enables analytics to be applied to properly identify platform attribution for revenue and expense budgeting.

    Respectfully submitted 
    Bill Baird 

  • Save $300 on Integrated Marketing Week in June

    DMCNY rarely offers special benefits to both members and non-members.  But this deal is too good to pass up.  DMCNY is a strategic partner of The DirectMarketing Association for Integrated Marketing Week (IMW) to be held on June 3 and 4 at The Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 W  18th Street.

    Now in its second year, IMW is where 1500 of the most senior marketing leaders meet to share their integrated marketing successes, road test the new tech, meet the top vendors and make decisions about the tools and partnerships that can help them deliver across all channels.

    DMCNY constituents save $300 if you register for the conference byJune 2.  Click here for details and to register and use the promo code DMCNY1 to take advantage of the savings.

    Some details:

    No single channel can win out any more. Today, it’s about being wherever customers are, giving them relevant messages, and making sure that each interaction is intelligently connected to the next.  

    Which means delivering great customer experience and truly integrated marketing, across any and every channel: web, social, mobile, broadcast, email, in-store, outdoor and beyond. And that means re-engineering processes, investing in new technology, and creating entirely new, integrated strategies.

    This is the next great challenge for every marketer. And this is exactly what IMW in June is all about – helping marketers rise to the toughest challenge of them all: delivering the multichannel customer experience.

  • How to Survive in the New Age of Cold Calling


    February, 2014

    Consider how sales people have to operate their cold calls these days.  Walk into a building and take the elevator to the floor of a prospect?  That ended with 9/11.  Now it’s a picture ID, just to get into the lobby.  If there’s a security desk, you’re going to need a contact name at your target firm—or that’s as far as you’re going to get. 

    But there are solutions.  One of the best things about the Internet age:  You can find just about everything you need online.  Before your calls, you can easily find company addresses and phone numbers.  And if you’re really lucky, you may find a list of company personnel, sometimes with their email addresses. 

    Armed with a name, I stand a chance.  Here’s how I proceed:  First, I put together a sales kit with product samples and my company information.  In the lobby, I have the guard call up, so I can get upstairs to see my targets. Invariably, the call goes to voice mail.  At that point, the guard may let me up to the company’s reception desk.  There, I can talk to the receptionist and leave behind my materials, to be delivered to the prospect.

    On the off chance that the prospect does pick up, I ask for the phone, and get the quizzical “Do we have an appointment?”  I say “No, but if you have 5 minutes I’d like to tell you how I can help you.”  The answer is usually “No,” but now the prospect knows I’m a real person, and I get to leave my information for them.

    The next day I make a follow-up call to set up an appointment.  Again, we have the problem of them picking up the phone.  That’s where polite persistence is a must.   Also, I find that calling at odd times can work to get a hold of them. 

    If I can’t get upstairs to see them, my next step is the old, reliable, mail system.  I drop the sales kit in the mail, wait 3 or 4 days, and call again for an appointment.  By then, they are likely to know who I am, and maybe they’ll see me. 

    If I get the prospect on the phone, often it turns out not to be the right person, and the process starts all over again. 

    I have learned that I can’t be too pushy.  That’s a turn-off.  After my first voice mail message, I keep trying to call, to get them live on the phone.  But I won’t leave another message until 2 weeks have gone by.  At the end of my voice mail message, I always say “If you have a problem, I’m here to help you.”  It’s surprising, but when people get desperate they do call me. 

    Prospecting, or cold calling, rarely provides instant gratification. It is a long process that requires patience and persistence.  So be prepared.  



    John Swensen
    John Swensen's picture
  • Bill Baird's picture

    March 13 Luncheon - "The New Analytics”

    A lively panel of marketing analytic professionals provided a myriad of insights and predictions to a packed room of DMCNY members and attendees at the Yale Club, including a significant contingent of inquisitive students from local undergraduate and graduate direct marketing programs.  This article, written by DMCNY member Bill Baird, describes just some of the many comments and predictions of the day. MODERATOR:  Tony Branda, Chief Analytics & Database Marketing Officer, Consumer & Small Business Decision Management, Citibank 

    PANELISTS:  Charles Swift, Jr., VP Strategy & Marketing Operations, Hearst Magazines;  Sheryl Pattek, VP Principal Analyst Serving CMO Professionals, Forrester Research; Yongyong Kennedy, SVP Product Analytics and Market Segment Strategy, Citibank 

    On March 13, 2014, a lively panel of marketing analytic professionals provided a myriad of insights and predictions to a packed room of DMCNY members and attendees at the Yale Club, including a significant contingent of inquisitive students from local undergraduate and graduate direct marketing programs.  This article, written by DMCNY member Bill Baird, describes just some of the many comments and predictions of the day. 


    • A common theme across panelists was to follow a process: first identify the business need and questions to be answered, then identify the data that will get you there, and then build the technology around that.  
    • According to research from Bain and Company, organizations that use data strategically are 5 times more likely to make decisions faster, 3 times more likely to execute the intended decisions and 2 times more likely to deliver higher levels of financial performance.  
    • Citibank is testing big data to operationalize analytics that can’t be implemented with business intelligence platforms.  They are however still more in the R&D learning mode than in the mode of operationalizing infrastructure based on what’s been learned.   
    • Hearst has found roles have reversed.  Whereas the marketers used to live in the world of possibilities and the IT people lived in the world of pragmatism, the opposite is now the case.   


    • Citibank uses conventional direct response as a starting point, but this is a small part of the whole.  They are starting to pursue a direct targeting approach, using a predictive model for non-direct response media.  For in-store events, for example, they provide the bank manager with a list of modeled names to choose from vs. expecting them to choose on their own.   
    • Last-click attribution is still the most commonly-used attribution model for determining which customer touchpoint produced the order.  But Forrester noted this is the least effective measurement to use.  Companies need to focus increasingly on integrated marketing because, with the advent of new touchpoints (social media, mobile, etc.), the customer decision-making journey has changed.  


    • Marketing automation platform service providers enable the marketer to manage multiple touchpoints in an automated fashion from a single platform, as well as measuring attribution in numerous ways.  Panelists mentioned IBM Unica and Eloqua as examples of such service providers.  Picking the software is the least important piece – identifying the end-to-end marketing process, staffing, content and data strategy are more important. 
    • The best place to start with marketing automation and attribution is with retention, onboarding or cross-selling -- not with acquisition, panelists said.  These forms of marketing are easier to manage as well as being simpler applications.   

    • Panelists suggested studying USAA, Harrahs and Disney as best practice marketers.     


    • From a management perspective, Citibank has a dedicated social media marketing group.  Both Citibank and Hearst monitor social media sources for content to be managed, both positive and negative.  Another example is Dell’s Social Media Command Center.

      Positive examples are situations where something is being said or done which benefits the company, and the marketer’s role is to find ways to expand the benefit.  Conversely, negative buzz is managed in a manner to reduce its impact on the brand and/or business, responding to minimize its impact.    

    • One marketing strategy is to build microsites to get relevant topics discussed.  

    • Leveraging and measuring tweets was a common topic for the presenters. One issue is the unanswered question of how to monetize tweets--as well as all social media efforts. 



    • One obstacle is proving the accuracy of your numbers.  
    • Another is ensuring that existing analytics connect with the decision to be made.  You need to understand the internal customer’s needs.  
    • Backward-looking decisions are easy to support, whereas forward-looking ones are more difficult to prove.  
    • Use the agile approach: test and learn, test and learn more, roll out once the strategy is proven.  


    Panelists’ comments included:

    “How can we drive (more) customer transactions on line?”

    “Our database is no longer viewed as a marketing database; it’s now viewed as a company database.”

    “There is no model for adding unstructured data to structured data.”

    “Tracking cross-platform behavior and data (is an obstacle).” 

    “SAS predicts a massive shortfall of analytical professionals by 2018.”