Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Pamela A. Evans, Senior Web Marketing Manager, IBM Software Group
She's also stayed in touch with Ken Bernhardt, a marketing professor at Georgia State. "He's been a friend and an advocate, and when I was at Georgia State, he encouraged me to join the American Marketing Association," she says. "I've kept in touch with professional organizations - like the AMA and, later, the DMA—in my career, and I feel that it's helped me keep a network of professionals and stay current on what was going on in the industry and some of the evolving trends. I always have folks who I can contact with questions, and I've tried to be there when they've had questions for me, as well." Besides helping Evans connect with other professionals, Bernhardt's passion for marketing helped Evans get started in her career in marketing and public relations.
At IBM, Evans worked for Tom Smith, who was the vice president of sales for the Southern area, from 1988 to 1993. "He was a sales leader who practiced relationship marketing and who knew the importance of understanding your customer, which I feel is critical in whatever field of marketing you're in," says Evans. "You want to understand what the customer really needs and be able to relate to them on their terms. Tom Smith helped me a lot in understanding that, and in being able to ensure that I was developing targeted programs that would be effective in relating to customers." Evans has worked on a number of retention programs for IBM, so having Smith as a mentor in that area has been invaluable to her.
Over the years at IBM, Evans worked closely with Dan Flack, a Gold Service business unit executive. Flack taught Evans how to build a team of the best possible people working toward a common objective. He also stressed the importance of keeping marketing and sales closely connected. "In marketing, we're kind of like a relay race," says Evans. "We're running with the baton, but it's sales that has to carry it home. And we want to make sure that it doesn't slip. I've been able to get a much deeper appreciation for sales from Dan because he has been in both marketing and sales."