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The DMA Inducts Four Leaders Into Its Hall Of Fame For 2002: Jock Bickert, Jonah Gitlitz, Robert D. Bob Kestnbaum, And Ralph Lane Polk Ii
SAN FRANCISCO, October 22, 2002 – The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) Board of Directors today inducted four industry leaders –Jock Bickert, Jonah Gitlitz, Robert D. "Bob" Kestnbaum, and Ralph Lane Polk II (posthumously) – into The DMA Hall of Fame, the highest professional honor in direct and interactive marketing. The four were formally inducted during a special luncheon at The DMA’s 85th Annual Conference & Exhibition on October 22, 2002, in San Francisco, CA.
Established in 1978, The DMA Hall of Fame honors direct and interactive marketing professionals’ outstanding career contributions to the practice, growth, and stature of the direct and interactive marketing discipline, and now includes 81 honorees.
"These men are true leaders in the direct marketing industry," said H. RobertWientzen, president & CEO, The DMA. "Their contributions to the theory and practice of direct and interactive marketing has had a profound impact on the industry worldwide."
Jock Bickert has been responsible for advancing marketers’ ability to target customers more accurately. Throughout his career, he has been credited with introducing marketers to the concept of advanced analytics to drive database performance, the use of data to create customer profiles and market analysis, and the use of self-reported demographic and lifestyle data for use in generating targeted lists.
Bickert founded the database marketing company Looking Glass, Inc. in 1995. Under his leadership, the company created the first household-level clustering system, Cohorts, that helps marketers cost-effectively target new customers by identifying 27 unique and cohesive groups of consumers.
In 1975, Bickert founded and served as president of the database marketing company National Demographics & Lifestyles (NDL). With an initial investment of just $500, the company now maintains a 41-million name national consumer database, The Lifestyle Selector, from which it produces highly targeted mailing lists and market analyses based on demographic and lifestyle characteristics. While at NDL, Bickert extended the company’s demographic and lifestyle operations to the UK and Europe. NDL has been recognized as a pioneer in database marketing and has been the subject of two case studies in entrepreneurship by the Harvard Business School. The company was later acquired by R.L. Polk & Co. and is currently a part of Equifax, Inc.
The focus of Bickert’s earlier career was survey research in consumer behavior and public opinion. In 1970, Bickert, along with two other partners, formed the research and consulting firm BBC. Bickert has also held positions at survey research firm Frank N. Magid Associates and the University of Denver’s Research Institute.
Bickert served on both The DMA Board of Directors and the Association’s executive committee from 1986 to 1992 and is currently a trustee of the Direct Marketing Education Foundation (DMEF). He was responsible for conducting key research that helped shape The DMA’s Mail Preference Service (MPS).
Bickert has been a regular guest lecturer in entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, among others. In 1988, Bickert was named The DMA’s "List Leader of the Year" and in 1993 received the "Ed Sisk Award" from the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, DC for his innovations in direct marketing. Bickert was also named "Direct Marketer of the Year" by the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association.
Jonah Gitlitz served as president & CEO of the Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) from 1985 to 1996. During his 12 years of service, DMA membership increased from 1,800 to over 3,000.
To avert congressional, legislative, and regulatory initiatives, Gitlitz expanded government activities at the federal and state levels, broadened ethics and consumer affairs programs and instituted The DMA’s Telephone Preference Service (TPS). During his tenure, The DMA’s efforts played a key role in the 1992 Quill vs. North Dakota use tax victory.
Under his guidance, The DMA launched a twice-yearly Consumer/Industry Dialogue between DMA members and state and local consumer protection officials across the country. These dialogues were co-sponsored at various times with the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, The Council of Better Business Bureaus, and the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators.
Several new products and services were introduced under his leadership, including "Economic Impact: U.S. Direct Marketing Today," the first study to measure the impact of direct marketing on the U.S. economy, and DMA’s Shop-at-Home program. Gitlitz also expanded DMA Councils -- including Directo-The DMA Council for Hispanic Marketing, Marketing Technology, Agency Leaders, Catalog Leaders, and List Leaders.
Gitlitz joined The DMA in 1981 as senior vice president of public affairs. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president of the American Advertising Federation (AAF).
Robert D. "Bob" Kestnbaum
Database marketing pioneer, Robert Kestnbaum is recognized as a leader in formulating, applying, and popularizing new concepts and approaches as sophisticated database/interactive marketing technologies evolved.
Kestnbaum founded the direct, database, and Internet marketing management consulting firm Kestnbaum & Company in 1967 and was president until his retirement in June 2001. During his more than three decades with Kestnbaum & Company, the firm has helped numerous consumer and business-to-business marketers – such as IBM Direct, Citicorp, British Airways, Hewlett-Packard, and National Westminister Bank – introduce and improve their database marketing activities.
Prior to Kestnbaum & Company, he served as direct marketing manager of Montgomery Ward & Company and co-founded the Robert Maxwell Company, the original direct marketing division of Bell & Howell Company.
Throughout his career, Kestnbaum has been credited with the advancement of such database and interactive marketing concepts as standardization of direct marketing arithmetic, calculation and application of customer long-term value, applying database marketing methods and analyses to improve and measure general marketing and media usage, applying sophisticated financial modeling and statistical techniques to marketing challenges, and defining longitudinal or horizontal contact strategy.
Kestnbaum served as a mentor to many in the database and interactive marketing field. He speaks frequently at direct marketing conferences and has authored numerous articles concerning all aspects of database marketing. He served as a member of The DMA Board and Executive Committee from 1994 to 2000.In 1988, he received the Charles Downs Award from the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing and was presented the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation’s (DMEF) Edward Mayer, Jr. Award in 1997 for his contributions to the education of direct marketers.
Ralph Lane Polk II (1882-1949)
Working in the direct marketing industry since his tenth birthday, Ralph Lane Polk II’s contributions fueled the rapid growth of automotive direct marketing and the list industry in the 20th century.
His revolutionary efforts to pursue, compile, and transform automotive owner registrations into a powerful direct marketing tool was instrumental in developing strong customer relationships for automobile manufacturers, automotive dealers, aftermarket companies, and other automotive businesses.
Beginning in the states of Washington and Michigan, Polk directed the compilation of vehicle registration data to determine such things as units sold, market share, and dealership location in order to target personal offers to vehicle owners. In 1921, he began collecting information from all states. Along the way, he purchased motor vehicle list companies to add to the wealth of vehicle information already established.
In 1924, he combined R.L. Polk’s direct marketing efforts for the automotive businesses to form a direct mail division, focused on consumer and business-to-business list and direct mail production. By the end of the 1930’s, the company was accomplished in compiling large volumes of data and using the information to identify the best households for direct mail campaigns. Immediately after World War II, the division added direct mail creative work and total package promotions to its list of services.
At the time of his death in 1949, the direct mail division delivered up to two million pieces of mail each day, making it one of the largest direct marketing companies in the world.
About The DMA Hall of Fame
Each year, The DMA Board of Directors may elect as many as four leaders to The DMA Hall of Fame. The DMA Hall of Fame Committee of Judges makes its selections based on nominations received through the annual Call for Nominations to DMA member companies and the industry at large. This year’s committee of judges was chaired by Richard C. Wolter, former chairman & CEO of The Columbia House Company.
Joining Wolter on the 2002 committee were: Dr. Holger Albers, general manager, DDV-Deutscher Direkmarketing Verband e.v.; Jock Bickert, CEO, Looking Glass, Inc.; Lee Epstein, chairman, MAILMEN, Inc; David Florence, chairman & CEO, Direct Media, Inc.; Alan M.
Glazer, president, Alan Glazer Associates LLC; Jim Kobs, chairman & CEO, Kobs Strategic Consulting; Katie Muldoon, president, Muldoon & Baer, Inc.; Jerome W. Pickholz, former principal, Pickholz Tweedy & Company; Stan Rapp, chairman, MMR Partners Worldwide; Jules Silbert, consultant, The Silbert Group; Emily F. Soell, vice chairman, chief creative officer, Draft Worldwide; and John F. Temple, president & CEO, Guideposts. Ex-officio members included Michael P. Sherman, (chairman of The DMA Board of Directors) president, Fingerhut Companies, Inc.; and H. Robert Wientzen, president & CEO, The DMA.
The DMA is the leading and largest trade association for businesses interested in direct, database and interactive marketing, with nearly 4,700 member companies from the United States and 53 other nations. Founded in 1917, its members include direct marketers from every business segment as well as the nonprofit and electronic marketing sectors, including catalogers, Internet Service Providers, dot-coms, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, retail stores, industrial manufacturers and a host of other vertical segments, including the service industries that support them. According to a DMA-commissioned study, direct and interactive marketing sales in the United States exceeded $1.86 trillion in 2001, including $118 billion in catalog sales and $30 billion in sales generated by the Internet. The DMA's Web Site iswww.the-dma.org and its consumer Web site is www.shopthenet.org.
Media Contact: Christina Duffney