Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Sandy Carter
Carter may have a more literary goal—bringing thrillers into the 21st century. That genre's authors seem to think email is cutting-edge technology.
"In 10 years, I would love to be an author of fiction books, teaching marketing at a prestigious school," Carter says.
As surprising as that may be to many, Carter points out that she does see the world from a different perspective. To her, everything's about marketing.
"I think the biggest inspiration about marketing, to me, is the creativity," Carter says. "Now IBM produces this 'CEO Study' … and in that CEO study, it shows that CEOs like breakthrough thinking and creativity. And I think marketing affords you the ability to think outside the box, [to] come up with a different way to break through the noise and to be different—to solve the problem in a different fashion. And that's always been something that's been exciting to me, coming up with that creative solution. And I think that's really what inspires me and really keeps me coming back for more and more and more."
That thought goes back to her point—that great marketers tell great stories, complete with happy ROI endings.
"One of my favorite quotes is, 'Tell me the facts and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever,'" Carter says. "That's what marketing is. It's about telling a story, getting someone engaged with you—engaged in social or engaged with a message. And to me, [those are] the words of wisdom … figure out the story behind something as you're trying to market it. Because I think stories always sell."
So by now, it's clear why Swale and Susan Blocher, vice president of marketing and communications for IBM PureSystems, call Carter a "force of nature."
"You can't help wanting to work with her," Blocher says, "because so much of what she does is industry-leading and innovative. She is able to create this incredible momentum around everything she works on. She once told me that her mom used to call her the 'Energizer Bunny' when she was a kid, and I think that is a great descriptor. She is relentless about driving marketing, reaching out to the entire ecosystem and helping to make IBM relevant to our clients."