Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Dawn Zier
Klingel says Zier's direct marketing performance always exceeded his expectations, so he kept adding on responsibility and challenges.
"In addition to working hard and achieving a lot, we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs," he says. "For me, it was the end of my career, and I owe Dawn and her group a debt of gratitude for the experience of working with such a highly talented group of people. In terms of marketing creativity, I think they achieved more than any circulation group in the history of magazines."
Zier met another mentor at Reader's Digest—former CEO Eric Schrier.
"What Eric taught me was how to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace change," Zier says.
While it may seem difficult to imagine Zier and change not getting along, it appears Schrier thinks Zier did well adapting.
"Dawn is a tremendous talent and well-deserving of this award," Schrier says of Zier being Target Marketing's 2014 Direct Marketer of the Year.
Another marketing visionary who also happens to be in publishing is Jeff Bezos of Amazon. Zier believes Bezos "focuses relentlessly on the customer. … One of the things I read about … him was, at every meeting, he has the customer figuratively sitting at the table. So the customer is front-and-center of every conversation, which I think is critical."
In addition to having customers as advisors, Zier listens to Brad Thomas, CEO of The HR Impact Group. Another mentor from her Reader's Digest years, Thomas was the chief HR officer and has been her executive coach ever since.
"[He] is an expert on both strategy, as well as building culture in organizations for success," Zier says. "His advice and support, coupled with his willingness to challenge and push me—which by the way, not many people are willing to do—have truly been invaluable to me, both at Reader's Digest and Nutrisystem."