When marketing pros provide advice, marketing practitioners listen. One of the high points of the New York marketing community calendar each year is the Silver Apple Gala hosted by the Direct Marketing Club of New York. The fete, held this year on Nov. 7 near Times Square, toasts the business and industry leadership success of honored individuals, and at least one corporation or organization.
Each “Silver Apple” recipient has contributed for 25 or more years to our field, and since 1985, there have been 248 such honorees, including these four individuals in 2019:
- Carl Horton, Jr., Associate Partner, IBM (Austin, TX)
- Gretchen Littlefield, CEO, Moore DM Group (Arlington, VA)
- Joe Pych, CEO, NextMark & Bionic Advertising Systems (Hanover, NH)
- Britt Vatne, President, Data Management, ALC (Princeton, NJ)
Marketing, Career Wisdom They Share
So when more than 200 of your friends, family, and peers come together, what pearls of wisdom do you have to share?
“The ability to execute against the dream in real time,” is what excites Carl Horton, Jr., in his current position in B2B marketing at IBM. Horton credits colleagues who have placed “personal investments in me” and dared to let him take crazy ideas (artificial intelligence applications don’t seem so crazy today) and make them reality, as well as the unconditional love of family.
One key takeaway from Horton:
“The importance of diversity in leadership and innovation: The NextGen of innovation may come from someone of experience, income, race, gender, gender identity, very different from our own.”
Here, here, we need to foster it.
Britt Vatne, who leads the data management practice at ALC, talked about a career pivot 15 years ago, when she worked with a nonprofit client for the first time, March of Dimes, and it showed to her how critical acquiring, retaining, and growing donors are. She also credited industry luminaries, such as the late Bob Castle and the energetic Donn Rappaport (in the room) – as well as her father, who came to America from Norway, never finished primary school, and taught her “there is no substitute for hard work.” She was the first of her family to go to college.
“Being human, being respectful, and having integrity are non-negotiable,” she said. “Be a positive role model, and you’ll have the love and loyalty of family.”
And probably, quite a few colleagues and clients, too.
Joe Pych, who is the startup founder of two companies — NextMark and Bionic Advertising, says his “go-to metric is sales growth.” CRM [customer relationship management] is so much more of an opportunity than simply managing costs, he says. Set a goal, uncover an idea, execute, and measure results.
”I feel selfish standing alone with so much support I’ve received over the years,” he said, referring first to his mother, who put four children through college on an electrician’s salary – and then went and got a masters herself.
He also thanked many of his client data businesses that helped make his first company take off — companies, such as MeritDirect, ALC, Worlddata, and Specialists Marketing Services (SMS), among others – who took a chance on a Hanover, NH-based enterprise. To his wife, Robin.
“Those missed vacations, I’m sorry … again.”
Gretchen Littlefield, CEO of Moore DM Group for the past two years, also served at Infogroup for 14 years, where she helped develop its nonprofit, political, and federal government marketing practice – which propelled her into her current role atop Moore.
In 2018, she co-founded the Nonprofit Alliance, where she serves as vice chair, to advance in Washington the interests of nonprofit and charitable organizations.
“I fell into this business like everyone else,” she said, starting from data entry and advancing to “getting data [insights] out of the industry.”
She thanked many industry leaders among her mentors and influencers, among them Jim Moore, Larry May, and Vin Gupta.
“It seems as if on every innovation, we are working together and competing all the time. Coopetition,” she said. “The flow of data – from list rentals, to coops, to marketing clouds. We share data for growth.”
Littlefield also emphasized investment in education, citing Marketing EDGE and Direct Marketing Club of New York, for their respective roles in attracting bright students to the marketing field.
“Time goes by faster than we expect — Joe [Pych] and I were Marketing EDGE Rising Stars back in the day. I’m just as excited today as my first day in direct marketing, but mostly grateful for the friendships.”
In addition, there were three special honors bestowed, among them a first-time “Corporate Golden Apple” to Marketing EDGE for its more than half-century of creating and connecting market-ready college students for careers in marketing. And two Excellence Apples:
- 2019 Apple of Excellence, Advocacy:
Tony Hadley, SVP, Regulation and Public Policy, Experian (Washington, DC)
- 2019 Apple of Excellence Disruptor:
Mayur Gupta, CMO, Freshly (New York, NY)
There’s more to share – but that likely will be another post! Stay tuned …