The world of marketing and advertising is vast, but our slice of that universe is actually quite finite. It is the world of direct marketing whose roots lie in direct response television, but which is now engulfed in an Omnichannel reality that includes, but is not limited to: broadcast, digital, mobile, social, print, and brick and mortar retail. Many of us have grown up together – some might say grown old together – and travelled the world, in what has been and remains a truly tribal experience. Conventional wisdom asserts that the average professional will have seven different careers across the span of their working life; yet, in the case of our clan, while individuals may reinvent themselves, they rarely leave the fold. Why?
Because there is a recognition that despite the maturation and layered complexity of the direct marketing discipline, that despite any challenges or travails we face, that what we have together is something unique. Imagine: a business where laughter and joy and kinship are as prevalent as board rooms and balance sheets. The secret is: we’re having too much fun. All the while, partnerships form and split, marriages are consummated and occasionally come undone, and the milestones of life are celebrated, while any passing is deeply mourned.
This is especially the case with the recent loss of Arline Kramer, the “Product Queen” who helped countless inventors fulfill their dreams, and who was and remains a cherished member of our community. In tribute after tribute her joie de vivre, spirt, and unique sensibility have been celebrated. Arline, also referred to as the “DRTV Diva,” was an original, noted for selflessly mentoring many of her fellow women associates, and has been an industry mainstay for decades. She was having a grand time at a DRMA reception where many of us had gathered together for the annual International Home + Housewares show, and died unexpectedly later that night. Arline’s passing has been met with shock and disbelief for she was that rare force of nature whose spirt was so vibrant that it is difficult to imagine that she would not always be a part of our singular, rollicking mix.
Perhaps one way the DR community can channel its grief and to pay tribute to Arline is by following her example; to be kind to one another – to take the time to go the extra mile. That could mean picking up the phone and reaching out to a long-lost colleague, asking for or giving forgiveness, or resolving to seek resolution instead of litigation. The reason to do so is simple: we gather together at different stops along the year. We laugh and say, “It’s like Groundhog Day!” as time seemingly accelerates and years breathlessly fly by. We look across the room and see “the usual suspects,” smile and nod, and imagine that the familiar faces will always be there. And then, one day, it’s no longer so and we realize: tomorrow is not promised; yet we remain interconnected, and the only valid choice is to seek unity; the only reasonable choice is to love one another.
The poet John Donne had a profound understanding of this kind of bond and captured it quite vividly in this poem, which we dedicate to our colleague and that we respectfully ask you to consider:
Colleen Ferrier is a seasoned direct marketing expert who specializes in guiding integrated direct-to-consumer campaigns with an acute focus on ROI. Her broad experience has included management oversight of marketing, operations, media, and international distribution. The campaigns she has been instrumental in helping lead to success across her 15+ year career include Pillow Pets, Little Giant Ladder, Dream Lites, and Stompeez. Ferrier has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Augusta University, Georgia.
Rick Petry is a direct marketing veteran of over 25 years who has been involved with campaigns that have generated over $1 billion in sales. He provides creative services to both B2C and B2B marketing campaigns and recent projects have included Actegy/Revitive, Education Connection, GOLO, Joybird, and OYO/DoubleFlex. The author of over 200 articles on direct marketing best practices, Petry has a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema/Television from the University of Southern California and an MBA with a Concentration in Marketing and Sales from Marylhurst University.