Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Sandy Carter

Sandy Carter has 135 videos on YouTube (as of presstime), including the series IBM Social Business Coffee Break. In this one from October 2011 on social enablement, she reveals how they got IBM’s own sales team to understand and buy into IBM’s social media portfolio.

A social media marketing leader making Big Blue friendly and accessible

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.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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