Direct Marketer of the Year: Brian Kurtz, executive vice president, Boardroom Inc.
Of course, bringing in the best consultants, copywriters and other support services is an Edelston legacy that Kurtz and Boardroom will carry on-after all, it's the philosophy on which the company was founded. "All of our newsletters are based on going to the expert to get the information that the consumer needs. We run our direct marketing the same way. It's very consistent with who we are as a company and what we produce. If I want to find out about what's state-of-the-art in automatic renewals, I'm going to go find the expert in the industry-and if I have to hire them or pay them, I'm going to do that, too," Kurtz says, adding, "that's probably what's kept me at Boardroom for 26 years ... we're very committed to what we're doing."
The Ultimate Compliment
Due to his achievements and his dedication to helping others find success in the industry, Kurtz's contributions have been acknowledged many times. To name a few, he's been inducted into the Direct Marketing Association's Circulation Hall of Fame and received its List Leader of the Year Award, and the Direct Marketing Club of New York has recognized him with a Silver Apple. These honors are both humbling and deeply appreciated, as he finds it amazing to receive recognition for work that already is enjoyable and so gratifying.
But of all the accolades he has garnered in his career, there is one that holds a special place in his memories. Going back to his first visit with Dick Benson, Kurtz remembers:
I'm down there after being in the list business for three or four years. I really caught on fast, learned the business really well and was living lists every day. I'm with the marketing director ... so throughout the day, I kept my mouth shut for the most part. But every once in a while, Benson would ask a question that had to do with lists, and I always was able to answer it. Not because I'm a know-it-all, but because that's what I was doing all day, and I did know "everything about that much" in my area. At the end of the day-I'll never forget it for the rest of my life-Benson (who was an intimidating guy for a lot of people) looks at me and says something like, ‘Brian, I didn't know you before today, but frankly I'm impressed.' I was done, I could have retired at that point.