A List Professional Speaks: Alan Zamchick
Target Marketing took some time to chat with Alan Zamchick, vice preisdent of list management for Media Horizons Management about how he entered the list business, who his mentors were, what challenges he has faced in the industry and more.
Target Marketing: How did you first get into the list business—and why?
Alan Zamchick: Peter Muzzy—who in February 1978 was the newly named direct mail manager at Unity Buying Service—asked me if I knew what a mailing house was and I replied: “Sir Speedy!” Right then and there he knew I was as green as the grass in a field and hired me on the spot to be his wingman.
TM: Who were your mentors in the business, and what are the main lessons they taught you?
AZ: Peter [Muzzy], who provided the broadest education of direct marketing 101, late 1970s style. Lesli Rodgers, my “first” list broker at Names Unlimited who patiently guided me through my first 100 million names or so. Tom Frenz, my “second” list broker at Names Unlimited who taught me what not to order for a sweepstakes offer.
TM: Who were the two most memorable people you ever met in the list or direct marketing business—and why were they so memorable?
AZ: Joe Furgiuele, who took a chance hiring me to replace him at CBS Publications based solely on potential, and Alan Kraft, who became a lifelong friend. A third memorable person was the late Walter Prescott who at the 1981 DMA Conference in Atlanta counseled me to “surround yourself with the best people and you’ll never go wrong.”
TM: What was your most difficult challenge from a client and how did you deal with it?
AZ: Ralph Palmer—then of Rubin Response and now of Walter Karl Midwest—who had the reputation of chewing up list managers with his hard-driving, stern expectations of customer service, who I was able to de-fang by providing my own excellent brand of precisely that!