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Cover Story : Direct Marketer of the Year: Sandy Carter

A social media marketing leader making Big Blue friendly and accessible

October 2013 By Heather Fletcher
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Breaking her ankle in 17 places during a ski trip wasn't what Sandy Carter's friends and colleagues meant when they called her a "force of nature." They were referring to the IBM general manager's ethos, typified by her reaction to sitting out the 2006-2007 ski season. During that time, Carter wrote her first book, "The New Language of Business: SOA and Web 2.0."

"It's kind of related to my career," Carter says, laughing, "in that you think you're so busy. You're always so busy. But sometimes things happen and they seem really bad. But then they turn out for good."

In 2009, when the rest of the direct marketing world was complaining about yet another shakeup of the Internet ecosystem, saying social media marketing and gamification weren't tied to a return on investment (ROI), Carter and Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM proved them wrong. INNOV8 2.0, now "CityOne: A Smarter Planet game," was the No. 1 lead generation asset for WebSphere software when Carter was the vice president of service-oriented architecture and WebSphere strategy, channels and marketing. Before the article about that feat could reach Target Marketing magazine print subscribers, Carter was promoted to Vice President, IBM Software Group Business Partners.

When editors chose her as Target Marketing magazine's 2013 Direct Marketer of the Year, Carter's title was Vice President, Social Business Evangelism and Sales at IBM. Now general manager, her new responsibilities are immense. IBM expects her to help its clients capitalize on their share of an estimated "$500 billion of opportunity by 2015" through Big Data, cloud, mobile, social and analytics "business ecosystems."

All the while, Carter continues to innovate and give back to the direct marketing community. She tweets, blogs and authors books. She speaks at conferences, including her August 2011 keynote at what is now called the Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference and Expo. She mentors, organizes events and leads professional groups, employing the positive "let's get the job done" attitude her friends and colleagues say is synonymous with Sandy Carter.

"I tell people Sandy is simply amazing," says Clarissa Felts, vice president of collaboration, diversity and inclusion at Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe's Home Improvement. "She is able to break down complex problems and diagnose how to overcome challenges and make them into opportunities."

Target Marketing’s Direct Marketers of the Year

1993 Millard Fuller & Morris DeesHabitat for Humanity

1994 Marty EdelstonBoardroom

1995 Emily SoellRapp Collins

1996 John PetermanJ. Peterman Co.

1997 Bill BonnerAgora Publishing

1998 Jay WalkerPriceline.com

1999 Dante CirilliGrolier

2000 Bill Jayme-Heikki Ratalahticreative team

2001 Jan BrandtAOL

2002 Brook HolbergThe Christian Science Monitor

2003 Richard ThalheimerThe Sharper Image

2004 Beth O’RorkeThe Economist

2005 Pat CorporaHCI

2006 Margaret CarterAmerican Red Cross

2007 Brian KurtzBoardroom

2008 Pamela A. EvansIBM Software Group

2009 Pegg NadlerHachette Filipacchi Media (now Hearst)

2010 David NortonHarrah’s Entertainment (now Caesar’s)

2011 Brian CowartALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

2012 Marisa Anne EdmundEdmund Optics

2013 Sandy CarterIBM

 

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