A very KCDMA Christmas

KCDMA LogoAs KCDMA president, it was my honor to host the annual holiday party last night. I know that Kelly and I had a wonderful time visiting with fellow board members and past presidents, and the feeling seemed to be mutual.

These social gatherings always make me aware of how genuinely nice direct marketers tend to be. Our group spans various disciplines and at least two generations, but everyone seems cut from some of the same cloth: smart, curious, welcoming, hardworking, and nerdy in at least some way. In other words, this is my tribe!

It’s been a great year at the KCDMA. Happy holidays, everyone!


The big week for big data

DMA 2013 logoWe’re less than a month out from DMA13, the annual conference of the Direct Marketing Association, on October 12-17. Watch out, Chicago. I’ll be stalking the halls of McCormick Place representing MCH Strategic Data and the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association Sunday through Tuesday.

This conference has changed a lot since I first started attending it twelve years ago. Email, mobile, and social marketing have moved to the forefront of marketing, and the DMA has struggled to keep up with the pace. The DMA must battle the perception that “direct marketing” is synonymous with “direct mail.” Today there are untold thousands of data-driven marketers who don’t think of themselves as direct marketers even though they’re following directly in the footsteps of Lester Wunderman and the other pioneers of the profession. The new tagline of the show as “The Global Event of Data-Driven Marketers” is an important step in claiming the proper definition of direct marketing.

In the past MCH Strategic Data exhibited at the show, but that doesn’t make as much sense for us anymore. Rather than generating leads from foot traffic, most of our energy goes into pre-arranged meetings with current and potential  partners and clients. This is my annual chance to touch base with DMA friends like Pat Sabatino, Tim Slevin, and Joe Pych.

Also, the DMA used to have a variety of subgroups such as the List and Database Council and the regional association network that included the KCDMA. Those ties were severed in the big DMA shakeup of a few years ago. I’ve heard inklings that Jay Schwedelson of Worldata may be trying to reconstitute some version of the List and Database Council. The regional affiliations, unfortunately, seem to be gone for good. I would have liked to have met with my fellow regional association presidents from New York, Chicago, Detroit, etc., but that seems unlikely at least in any formally sanctioned way.

Like most years, my focus at DMA13 will be on meeting with MCH’s most important partners and clients. Will you be there? I’d love to connect with you. Send me an email at kirkc@mchdata.com or give me a call at 800-776-6373.

I want to thank the academy…

At the podium as El Presidente.

No, I didn’t actually win an award, but I feel like I did.

Today I was inducted as the new President of the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association. This is really an honor. I’ve been attending KCDMA functions for years, and was first invited to join the board four years ago. During that time I’ve served in a couple of roles related to programming — a major responsibility that involves booking and promoting eight luncheon events over the course of the year. I was truly surprised to get the call from the nominating committee with an offer to step into this role.

The KCDMA is one of the oldest direct marketing organizations in the nation, getting its start back in the 1940s. My predecessors in the role have included luminaries in the various disciplines of data-driven marketing: Bob Stone, Martin Baier, Jack Schmid, Earl Hogan, Pat Freisen, Lois Boyle-Brayfield, and many others. Just to have my name appear in the same list as those folks feels like I’ve pinned on a gold medallion.

As I look at the year ahead, I will challenge myself and the board to continue and amplify the work we’ve been doing over the past few years. It’s ironic that principles of direct marketing — direct offers with measurable results — have never been in more widespread use, but that many of today’s direct marketers don’t even think of themselves as direct marketers. The KCDMA needs to ensure that young marketers who work in social, mobile, interactive channels understand that they are a part of our community and that the KCDMA is for them.

KCDMA LogoMy goal is for us to expand our audience, enhance our content, and to get value for the association by providing value to Kansas City’s marketing community.

This is going to be much easier to accomplish because we’ve assembled an outstanding Board of Directors for the year. The sixteen members of the 2013-2014 board are some of the most energetic and creative professionals representing Kansas City area companies including Sprint, BKV, ColorMark, emfluence, and Plattform Advertising.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful year with the KCDMA. Be sure to join me at some of the events!