5 Factors of a Successful Direct Marketing Career
The Direct Marketing Association tends to pick experienced and successful direct marketers for its Hall of Fame. So Jan Brandt, one of four being inducted on Oct. 14 during DMA08 in Las Vegas, is no different. That's why marketers' ears perk up when she speaks.
Brandt, vice chairwoman emeritus of AOL and member of investment fund Pilot Group, is also the chairwoman of North American Membership Group, a portfolio company of Pilot Group.
Here's what her decades of experience have taught her about her marketing approach:
1. Use creative and analytical talent to see the world through the target consumer's eyes. "For example," she says, "I look at the current spate of political advertising and I don't just see the message, I can envision the intended audience and their reaction to the messaging."
2. Goal orientation. When Brandt was 5, she decided she wanted her own library card. The librarian told her she should come back when Brandt could sign her name in cursive, a library requirement. So Brandt spent the next week contorting her 5-year-old fingers hour upon hour, tracing a signature her parents prepared for her. "I showed up at the library and said to the shocked librarian, 'OK, I can sign my name now. I would like my own library card now.'"
3. Persistence, fearlessness and fierce competitiveness. "I never take 'no' for an answer," Brandt says. She is known to tell colleagues that if a man can walk on the moon, they can figure out what they need to do to finish an earthbound task.
4. Good mentors. "I was also extremely fortunate to have great, notable mentors who took an interest in me, especially early in my career," she says. "For me, these included people like Bob Quigley, Pierre Passavant, John Klingel and Tom Ryder." She watched, listened and learned by asking every question she had - including the dumb ones.
5. Hire people who are smarter than you. "Face it, direct marketing requires knowledge across a broad spectrum of disciplines, and no single individual, no matter how talented, can be 'best of breed' in every single area," Brandt says. Also, hire with tomorrow in mind.