January 17, 2012

Help Us, Help You

Before becoming Chairman of the Direct Marketing Association, one of the things I’d noticed over the years was that the association didn’t have a ton of primary market research on itself, sort of a classic case of the cobbler’s children having shoddy shoes. Today we are launching a new survey to help us establish a baseline for awareness and perceptions of all aspects of the DMA on behalf of all members of the marketing community.   Whether or not you are a DMA or EEC member – in some ways, it’s even more important for non-members to take this – I’d greatly appreciate you taking 10 minutes to fill out this survey. It will help us continue to reshape the association to meet the needs of the community, as this survey will serve as the foundation for our new strategic plan, membership outreach and communications, conference programming, councils, and everything else we do.


November 3, 2011

Learning to Embrace Sizzle

Learning to Embrace Sizzle One phrase I’ve heard a lot over the years is about “Selling the sizzle, not the steak.”  It suggests that in the world of marketing or product design, there is a divergence between elements of substance and what I call bright shiny objects, and that sometimes it’s the bright shiny objects that really move the needle on customer adoption. At Return Path, we have always been about the steak and NOT the sizzle.  We’re incredibly fact-based and solution-oriented as a culture.  In fact, I can think of a lot of examples where we have turned our […]


June 2, 2011

Try It On For Size

Try It On For Size I’ve always been a big fan of taking a decision or a change in direction I’m contemplating and trying it on for size.  Just as you never know how a pair of pants is really going to fit until you slip them on in a dressing room, I think you need to see how decisions feel once you’re closing in on them. Here’s why:  decisions have consequences.  No matter how prescient leaders are, no matter if they’ve been trained in chess-like (three-moves-ahead) thinking, they can almost never perfectly foresee all the downstream reactions and effects […]


May 12, 2011

GEOITS

GEOITS This is another gem that I picked up years ago from my boss at MovieFone — the “Great Employment Office In The Sky.”  It’s a simple but powerful concept: the organization is grappling with a difficult employee situation, and the likely path is that the employee needs to leave the organization either immediately or sometime in the future, and it’s impossible for the organization to figure out how to get from A to B for whatever reason, then the employee resigns of his or her own accord, or the employee does something that leaves the organization no choice but […]


March 3, 2011

Come Fly With Me

Come Fly With Me I do a lot of travel for work.  That means I spend a lot of time on planes, some of which is “wasted” – or at least time that can’t be productive for work in the traditional sense of being connected, or in a lot of cases, of even reading.  One thing I’ve always appreciated in my career but have grown even more attached to of late is traveling with colleagues.  Any time I have an opportunity to do so, I jump on it. First, I find that I get solid work time in with a […]


January 12, 2011

5 Ways to Spot Trends That Will Make You (and Your Business) More Successful

5 Ways to Spot Trends That Will Make You (and Your Business) More Successful I’ve recently started writing a column for The Magill Report, the new venture by Ken Magill, previously of Direct magazine and even more previously DMNews. Ken has been covering email for a long time and is one of the smartest journalists I know in this space. My column, which I share with my colleagues Jack Sinclair and George Bilbrey, covers how to approach the business of email marketing, thoughts on the future of email and other digital technologies, and more general articles on company-building in the […]


December 13, 2010

The UnEmployee

The UnEmployee We have a few people who I think of an UnEmployees.  They are people who we have almost hired over the years (sometimes more than once), but never have, people who are in our industry and are friends of Return Path.  Sometimes they are clients or partners, sometimes they aren’t.  Sometimes they have a token stock option grant as advisors, sometimes they don’t. In any case, these people have played an incredibly valuable role in our company’s development over the years.  They are extra “eyes and ears” for us that have often served up valuable information before any […]


August 20, 2010

Feature Request, Part II

Feature Request, Part II In Part I, I asked for time zone alerts on cell phones for off-hours and a mechanism for alerting people when they’re replying-to-all when they were bcc’d. Today, I ask for an iPhone (and I suppose Android) app:  turn a photo of a whiteboard into a Word or PPT document!


February 25, 2010

New Blog of Note in the Direct Marketing World

New Blog of Note in the Direct Marketing World Gene Raitt, Chairman of the DMA, has launched a new blog today called DM Unplugged.  It’s not an official DMA property.  Gene won’t be the only contributor — over time, other DMA board members (including me) and thought leaders in the direct and interactive marketing communities at large — will contribute as well. This is one small, though notable, development in a series of things the DMA is working on as it transforms itself.  Look for some truly “unplugged” commentary on this blog about both things happening in the industry and […]


September 29, 2009

Closer to the Front Lines, Part II

Closer to the Front Lines, II Last year, I wrote about our sabbatical policy and how I had spent six weeks filling in for George when he was out.  I just finished up filling in for Jack (our COO/CFO) while he was out on his.  Although for a variety of reasons I wasn’t as deeply engaged with Jack’s team as I was last year with George’s, I did find some great benefits to working more directly with them. In addition to the ones I wrote about last year, another discovery, or rather, reminder, that I got this time around was […]


February 25, 2009

New Email Blogger Extraordinaire

New Email Blogger Extraordinaire My good friend and co-founder George Bilbrey, Return Path’s President, is now blogging. His blog, Monkey Mind Labs, is aptly named in part after Return Path’s long-standing but little-known corporate mascot. His first few posts are up.  My guess is that his blog will be a bit like mine in that it will cover topics about email marketing as well as entrepreneurship, but I can almost promise that George will be both wittier and more insightful than I.  At least, that’s what he tells me. Take a look!  Subscribe. Enjoy.