Cover Story : Direct Marketer of the Year: Sandy Carter
A social media marketing leader making Big Blue friendly and accessibleOctober 2013 By Heather Fletcher
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."
1993 Millard Fuller & Morris Dees—Habitat for Humanity
1994 Marty Edelston—Boardroom
1995 Emily Soell—Rapp Collins
1996 John Peterman—J. Peterman Co.
1997 Bill Bonner—Agora Publishing
1998 Jay Walker—Priceline.com
1999 Dante Cirilli—Grolier
2000 Bill Jayme-Heikki Ratalahti—creative team
2001 Jan Brandt—AOL
2002 Brook Holberg—The Christian Science Monitor
2003 Richard Thalheimer—The Sharper Image
2004 Beth O’Rorke—The Economist
2005 Pat Corpora—HCI
2006 Margaret Carter—American Red Cross
2007 Brian Kurtz—Boardroom
2008 Pamela A. Evans—IBM Software Group
2009 Pegg Nadler—Hachette Filipacchi Media (now Hearst)
2010 David Norton—Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesar’s)
2011 Brian Cowart—ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
2012 Marisa Anne Edmund—Edmund Optics
2013 Sandy Carter—IBM