30 direct marketers under 30
30 direct marketers under 30
DMNews gathered the best and the brightest young superstars in the direct, database and interactive marketing industry for its second annual 30 Under 30 feature. These successful up-and-comers were judged on their ability to initiate change, drive growth and achieve measurable results for their companies and clients. While these honored executive are not ranked per se, the top 10 we feel are particularly innovative standouts who deserve special mention.
Matt Annerino, director, digital marketing, North American Music, Live Nation
Matt Annerino backs up some of the biggest names in music at Live Nation, where he serves as director of digital marketing for North American Music. This young talent leads the company's North American database marketing operation. He also manages campaign execution, creative optimization, database and software upgrades and strategic e-mail programming for the North American division. He manages a staff of 10, including marketing, analytics, database and software employees.
Promoted twice in his less than two years at Live Nation, Annerino was previously digital marketing manager and direct marketing coordinator. He has also worked as product manager at AEG Live/Bandmerch and as an account executive at Upshot Marketing in Chicago. He also oversaw e-mail campaigns for artists including U2, Jay-Z, Madonna, the Jonas Brothers and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Annerino spearheaded a complete creative overhaul and launched a CRM program and centralized data mart.
A 2004 graduate of the University of Illinois, Annerino is part of a team that successfully executed 15,000 targeted e-mail campaigns last year, equaling 1 billion e-mails to 15 million members of the company's opt-in database. E-mail marketing resulted in about 13% of the company's 2009 ticket sales, and more than $145 million in revenue.
JT Batson, EVP, revenue and global development, Rubicon Project
JT Batson is held in such high regard by his colleagues at the Rubicon Project that a recent Forbes magazine profile chronicled a co-worker referring to him as G.O.D., or “genius on demand.”
At a time when publishers are frantically looking for ways to monetize their online content, Batson is EVP of revenue and global development at Rubicon Project, an advertising technology company focused on helping them do so. Coworkers credit him with raising Rubicon's revenue by 270% year-over-year to $70 million in 2009.
Forbes also credited Batson with convincing 30 major Internet publishers to join a digital consortium to sell advertising for higher prices. He is also a referee in that role, making sure that no publisher sells large amounts of digital advertising space for less than they should. The plan calls for marketers to pair premium ads with customer data in an effort to achieve better targeting.
Batson previously worked as senior marketing manager at Mozilla and marketing and sales development manager at AdBrite.
Josh Boaz, managing director and cofounder, Direct Agents Interactive Advertising
Despite his relatively young age, Boaz was a pioneer in online marketing, launching Direct Agents Interactive Advertising in 2000 while enrolled in college. Praised by his colleagues for his management skills, Boaz helped the agency build a local search engine marketing division, known as LocalConnex.com, expand its technology team, improve client-management systems and create a consumer-education portal in the past year.
Despite the recession, Boaz helped Direct Agents land clients such as the USO, New York Life, Weight Watchers and Costco while also growing the size of the business in the past two years. The company also recently established a London office.
Boaz is praised by his colleagues for building partnerships with direct marketing brands and ensuring that they also live up to the agency's standards of professionalism. Coworkers said that Boaz's sales experience and management abilities have made him an “irreplaceable force” at the company.
Linda Bustos, e-commerce analyst, Elastic Path Software
Linda Bustos has become an e-commerce authority in just a few short years by taking control of the Get Elastic e-commerce blog for Elastic Path Software. In just about 24 months, she has grown the blog's readership from a few hundred readers to more than 13,000, including marketers from some of the largest online retailers.
Bustos has become a well-known e-commerce speaker on the seminar and webinar circuit. She has also guest blogged for the National Retail Federation's Shop.org blog.
Get Elastic helps customers optimize their online storefronts for higher conversion rates. Bustos' direct consulting work contributed to a $1.5 million account win for the company last year, as well as a $250,000 win for the company in 2008, according to Gord Janzen, company COO. Janzen refers to her as a “very effective, trusted advisor to our largest clients, including one doing more than $1 billion annually online.”
Dawn DeVirgilio, Internet marketing specialist, ExactTarget
As head of Indianapolis-based e-mail marketing agency ExactTarget's Internet marketing, Dawn DeVirgilio is responsible for the online strategy that affects more than 7,000 clients.
DeVirgilio's work enables ExactTarget to monitor online buzz and “listen” to conversations consumers are having about client brands and products online. Being tapped into social media has allowed clients to increase customer satisfaction, as well as opened up new business opportunities for ExactTarget.
She rolled out what became the agency's most successful engagement tool to date during last year's ExactTarget user conference, Connections 09. DeVirgilio established a Twitter lounge — complete with live streams of Tweets from the event displayed on monitors — and encouraged attendees to Tweet about their experience. The 1,300 marketers at the show combined to Tweet 10,000 hash-tag references to the show during the conference's three days.
Melissa Fernandez, account executive, AmeriList
AmeriList's Melissa Fernandez is credited with helping to push her company forward on the mobile and e-mail marketing fronts.
She has launched the company's Mobile Interactive Marketing Division, and landed the largest client in the company's history, Madison Square Garden. Fernandez also helped to improve the company's e-mail marketing division.
Serving as account executive at the consumer and business-to-business mailing list company, she is also responsible for training her fellow employees.
A 2003 graduate of Manhattan College, Fernandez is also a member of Advertising Women of New York, New York Women in Communications and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. Her colleagues describe her as always willing to go the extra mile for clients and praise her for staying on top of industry trends.
Micah Johnson, CEO, Chief Ingredient
Not many people start two businesses before turning 30, much less do it without any startup capital. Micah Johnson has done both and is still just 28.
As founder and head of Chief Ingredient, Johnson oversees the agency's capabilities, which include research, strategy development and data analysis.
He also founded GigTide.com, a résumé-building and tracking service that serves the human resources industry. His marketing and operational savvy are rooted in past positions as VP of strategy and creative at Juice Media and director of operations at Knowledge Marketing prior to that.
Johnson's Web-savvy approach to marketing dates back to his late teens, when he was a Web designer for Web development firm Esultants.
Julie Nielsen, director of strategy and product, Appssavvy
Julie Nielsen works at the forefront of digital marketing at Appssavvy, where she serves as director of strategy and product. She joined the agency at its inception, first serving as director of client strategy. She also worked with the agency's founders to build a direct sales team for social media companies. In two years at appssavvy, she has helped to create three new departments – sales planning, account management, and partner development.
Her colleagues describe her as an individual who, at a time when others are struggling to understand social media, guides them knowingly through it. Under Nielsen's watch, Appssavvy has executed more than 125 campaigns in the past year. These efforts include Huggies “Enjoy Your Rewards” campaign, Purina's “Mighty Dog Nation” effort and Coca-Cola's “Pick Your Five” initiative. She's also supported brands including Lexus, Oakley, Adidas, Doritos, TBS and Sobieski Vodka.
Nielsen also padded her speaker's résumé in 2009, appearing at conferences including Web 3.0.
Nielsen previously worked as an account executive for Omnicom direct marketing agency Unit 7 and as an associate for sales and partner marketing at Freewebs.com. She is a 2005 graduate of the University of Iowa.
Justin Premick, director of education marketing, AWeber Communications
Justin Premick has earned his stripes as an integral part of AWeber Communications' marketing team. In the process, he has also earned a reputation as a thought leader in the e-mail marketing industry.
Premick manages AWeber's education marketing team, overseeing a six-person staff. He also oversees the scheduling and posting of all content on AWeber's educational blog, which has more than 25,000 subscribers. Premick has also published educational videos on the company's YouTube channel and represented AWeber at national conferences.
Meanwhile, the Miami University of Ohio graduate has made a name for himself with his work on educational webinars, training videos and the company's blog. Premick has also shared his views on social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, with an emphasis on responsible e-mail marketing strategies and tactics.
His work helped the company increase its subscriber base from 30,000 in 2008 to more than 75,000 followers in 2010. Premick previously worked as an education marketing manager and customer solutions specialist at AWeber.
Alex Rampell, cofounder and CEO, TrialPay
Alex Rampell was an entrepreneur literally from his childhood, developing a screensaver program at age 10.
He founded TrialPay in 2006 as an alternative e-commerce payment method. The company added 2,000 merchants, including McAfee, Skype, Zagat and The New York Times to its roster in its first year. TrialPay currently boasts 40 million users and 7,500 merchant partners, including Gap, Home Depot, Discover, Match.com, Apple, American Express Corp. and Blockbuster.
Rampell recently demonstrated his leadership ability by spearheading a cause effort that raised more than $55,000 for the American Cancer Society. “The Big Bundle” effort leveraged relationships with TrialPay's network of partners and enticed consumers to buy a bundle of products for $30. In the process, TrialPay received more than $700 worth of products and services from participating companies, including Papa John's, Hotels.com and 1-800-Flowers.com.
Rampell previously served as CEO of Rampell Software and co-founder of FraudEliminator. TrialPay was named one of the San Francisco Business Times' best places to work last March, and Rampell was named one of the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's top 40 Under 40 for 2009.
Sam Alexander, CMO, SkinCareRx, SkinBotanica, Apothica
When Sam Alexander, the creative marketing force at SkinCareRx and its partners SkinBotanica and Apolothica, joined the company more than three years ago, he oversaw one employee. Now, he manages several teams and dozens of staff members as the company's chief marketer.
Alexander has created the company's marketing department and various direct marketing efforts, including e-mail, search marketing, social media and substantial direct mail initiatives. The marketer has seen an increase in search engine conversions and traffic and a 120% increase in e-mail marketing revenue. Alexander also helped to create a multi-portal e-commerce system for SkinCareRx, Apothica and SkinBotanica.
Praised by colleagues for his ability to think outside the box, Alexander was awarded a 2009 company award for outstanding dedication and work.
Alexander previously worked as VP of marketing for SkinCareRx, SkinBotanica and Apothica, marketing director for SkinCareRx and merchandising manager for SonicScrubbers. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University.
Gina Alshuler, SVP of account services, Rauxa Direct
When Gina Alshuler took a job as a receptionist at Rauxa Direct in 2001, she wasn't expecting to become a senior executive at the company. The University of San Diego graduate had plans to go to Washington, DC and work in politics.
However, the new agency offered Alshuler a place to shine. In nine years, she has gone from answering phones for a company with a dozen employees to leading a $30 million business and managing 75 staff members.
Alshuler was instrumental in the firm's growth. Working her way from receptionist to assisting Rauxa founder and CEO Jill Gwaltney, Alshuler was key to bringing in new business. She was quickly promoted to junior account executive, and then upgraded to senior account executive in charge of major accounts. Later, she became an account supervisor, adding strategic direction to her account responsibilities, on the way to becoming an SVP. She is credited with revamping the New York office's creative department to run more efficiently. Her system was implemented at Rauxa's three other offices.
As SVP of account services, Alshuler manages the sales teams of the agency's four offices. In addition, she works with the new business teams to help them bring in and close new accounts.
Keane Angle, associate digital strategist, Colangelo Synergy Marketing
Just two years out of college, Keane Angle has demonstrated entrepreneurial ability both on the job and in his personal endeavors. As an associate digital strategist at Colangelo Synergy Marketing, he has co-created and launched successful market research, operational management and social media programs. He is responsible for creating innovative digital marketing initiatives for brands such as Diageo, Unilever and Church & Dwight.
Beyond Colangelo, he maintains the blog KeaneAngle.com, which includes artwork and marketing observances, as well as clothing e-commerce site ALittleBitWeird.com, where he is in charge of all design, development and optimization, as well as marketing strategy.
Angle is also in the process of building a collaborative research database that will function as a source of information about young adult males across the country. He plans to maintain the site so that it can be cross-referenced with existing sources to provide an in-depth look at young men as a consumer group.
Julie Bailey, associate director, Digitas
Julie Bailey is wise beyond her years and a natural leader, according to those who work with her. “I am an SVP 20 years her senior, and I would work for her and know many who feel the same way,” says John Robinson, SVP and creative director at Digitas, who nominated her.
Bailey handles both client management and strategic planning, and gets involved across all capabilities in that role: marketing, creative, technology, account planning and media.
Robinson says Bailey is loved by clients for her intelligence, insight, ideas and speed in getting things done. She recently led rebranding for the b-to-b division of a major financial services company, orchestrating the day-to-day efforts among four agencies working for the client. She also recently created an online magazine and a social forum for a grocery store that was launched this year.
Andrea Bass, account supervisor, Hawkeye
Hawkeye's Andrea Bass has managed more than 200 campaigns for clients, with elements including direct mail, e-mail, SMS and Web marketing. She helped the company develop a strategic plan for Alltel Wireless's “My Circle” effort garnered a 14% response rate. She helped the company develop a strategic plan for My Circle, including determining the best consumer touch strategies. She also identified alternative channel opportunities and established quarterly goals for Alltel.
In addition, colleagues praised Bass for her work on Alltel's launch of the Dish Network Satellite TV and DSL services, which led to increased ROI.
Bass came up through the ranks, previously serving as account coordinator, account executive and senior account executive at Hawkeye. Her colleagues praise her for fresh thinking, an open mind and proven leadership ability.
Danilo Boer, art director, BBDO New York
Danilo Boer helped turn Havaianas into one of the biggest footwear brands in Brazil while he was an art director at Almap BBDO Brazil. Now at BBDO New York, he works with some of the agency's most visible clients, including AT&T, Gillette, Mountain Dew and New Balance.
In his work on the AT&T account, he has been part of a successful team that created advertising that refutes Verizon's claims about the company's alleged service shortfalls, including its on-air ad efforts with actor Luke Wilson.
Benjamin Dyon, president and CEO, DME Studios
In the less than 17 months since Benjamin Dyon founded interactive agency DME Studios, the agency has worked with brands including Xerox, Berkshire Hathaway, Universal Studios, Toyota and the Miami Dolphins. As the agency's principal, he handles national accounts, negotiates and writes contracts and works on creative for Web, print, e-mail, digital and broadcast campaigns. The company has created interactive video for nearly 100 companies.
Dyon previously worked as VP of new business development at Direct Mail Express. Prior to that, he was director of new business development at 800-Adept. He also sits on the Board of Digital Media for CFL, a group founded to align central Florida universities with emerging trends in digital media and marketing.
Mason Hewitt, director of business development, Vantage Media
Mason Hewitt has distinguished himself in traditional direct marketing and search engine optimization in his short career. Hewitt works with Vantage's clients on a range of direct marketing initiatives like SEO, direct mail and social media. He has also gained experience on both the client and agency sides of the industry.
Since Hewitt joined Vantage, the company's clients have seen significant improvements in critical metrics, including lead volume and close rates. His sales are on track to contribute more than $6 million in revenue to the company this year, according to information provided by Vantage. He has also added brands including Safeco Insurance, United Van Lines and Cash4Gold to the company's client roster.
Prior to joining Vantage as director of business development, he worked at Sirva Inc., the parent company of Allied Van Lines, as a business and technology analyst as well as in partnership development and Web marketing. He is a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.
Linda Honan, creative director, BBDO New York
As a creative director at BBDO New York, Linda Honan has shown leadership and an ability to initiate change and growth at the agency. She also delivered fresh insight on client issues and drove measureable results, according to her colleagues at the firm.
Honan leads creative for the agency's work for Starbucks. She was a driving force behind the brand's recent “Love Project,” which helped to fight AIDS in Africa. The Starbucks Love Project boasted participants from more than 150 countries, and it generated nearly one million site visits and received more than 20,000 submissions.
Honan was also an important member of the team that launched advertising for Starbuck's new VIA instant coffee line.
Christopher Kenney, manager of search marketing, Vistaprint
Christopher Kenney has helped grow the search marketing practice at Vistaprint. Since joining the company in 2006, Kenney's team has expanded from just one person to six. During that time he has also driven innovation and revenue that exceeded the expectations of management. The company's search program has tripled and sees average growth of 62% annually. He has been promoted twice in the past two years.
Kenney was chosen to participate in Vistaprint's manager development program. He previously worked as a marketing coordinator at Benjamin Martin Marketing.
Andrew Klein, senior account executive, Oliver Russell & Associates
As head of Boise, ID-based Oliver Russell's HP account, Klein is responsible for all direct marketing initiatives, including e-mail and direct mail.
Based on his successful management of a recent $400,000 HP effort to reach technology buyers in higher education settings, HP increased the campaign's budget to $3 million.
Klein won both national and regional Addy Awards for his HP work, as well an AMA Houston Crystal Award. It was Oliver Russell's first National Addy Award.
On a recent HP campaign, Klein's revision of the direct marketing strategy improved response rates from a dismal 0.3% to well above 9%. His ascent through the account management ranks, from account coordinator to senior account executive, at Oliver Russell, are a testament to both his client relationship and campaign management skills.
He is a magna cum laude graduate of Pepperdine University.
Chris Newman, senior art director, Euro RSCG Chicago
Chris Newman excels at translating a corporate message into direct mail creative, according to his colleagues at Euro RSCG Chicago. In his time at the agency, he has worked with clients including Sprint, Kraft and Effen Vodka and has produced award-winning direct mail, and out-of-home and digital work for both consumer and business audiences. Newman launched the Sprint Premier brand identity, a customer retention program.
According to colleagues, Newman is on a mission to dispel the misconception that direct mail pieces are dull, and believes that engaging creative leads to higher response rates. He has done pro bono work for Chicago's Off the Street Club, an after-school program for inner-city youth; Cookies for Comfort, a non-profit that helps cancer patients; and a local theater company.
He won the Best in Show award at the 2009 AMBIT awards for “Winning Combination” a mailer targeting technical enterprise employees that used peanut butter and jelly to illustrate a combination of products. The piece generated a whopping 10.5% response rate.
Newman has risen through the ranks at Euro RSCG Chicago, working previously as an art director and a junior art director after graduating from Iowa State University.
Tiffany Price, senior manager of product marketing, Vistaprint
Tiffany Price's biggest impact on Vistaprint, according to colleagues, came while working on product launches. She is credited with revamping the way the company brings new products and services to market, including researching and surveying the product landscape and debuting the product in the marketplace.
Vistaprint has launched, on average, 12 new products annually to its consumer and business audiences. Her colleagues credit her with driving revenue and adding to the company's overall value proposition.
Price created a plan that turned the company's fiscal year 2010 second quarter into the most profitable quarter with a 40% year over year revenue increase. Her plan included determining the best and most aggressive pricing tactics, identifying key products to drive results and working with in-house creative teams to launch Web site landing pages to help convert customers.
At Vistaprint, Price manages a team of five product managers and numerous associates. She also oversees the optimization of the company's existing product lines.
Price previously served as a project manager at Perlos and PrideStaff.
Jennifer Rubio, interactive programs manager, Engauge
For Jennifer Rubio, the future of marketing lies at the intersection of technology and database marketing with creative thinking and community building. It is no wonder that she is taking risks and testing new ideas as the industry is transforming from traditional to emerging channels.
This Texas Tech University graduate is teaching Engauge teams how to use social media. Rubio is directing a team that is developing an online community for Best Buy's business customers. The site is a community destination tied to Best Buy's Twelpforce and knowledge databases. Rubio, the primary thought leader and development team project manager, convinced the client to try the new approach.
Rubio has won two DMA Echo Awards and a Marketing Sherpa Best of Show Award for Advergaming programs she spearheaded for Logitech. The campaign, led by Rubio, was developed in the US and translated into 13 languages for worldwide distribution.
Prior to working at Engauge, Rubio was senior account manager at Direct Impact.
Amber Seipel, senior media planner, Digitas Health
With only a few years of experience, Amber Seipel is leading digital media planning and buying for major pharmaceutical brands under AstraZeneca, one of Digitas Health's largest clients.
Seipel started in the business as an assistant media planner at Razorfish after graduating from Drexel University. She joined Digitas Health about two years ago, at the time when the agency won the AstraZeneca business. When Digitas Health had to build two of its largest media plans within weeks, Seipel jumped at the challenge and brought thoughtful strategy and creative ideas to the table, according to colleagues.
Seipel created the Social Media Leadership Task Force at Digitas Health to address digital challenges for an industry with strict privacy considerations. She found ways to employ social media while maintaining compliance with Food and Drug Administration and HIPPA regulations. This work is now the pilot program for all AstraZeneca brands using social media.
Hunter Shepherd, director of digital marketing solutions, Integrative Logic
As director of digital marketing solutions, Hunter Shepherd works with data, IT, marketing services and creative teams to ensure Integrative Logic clients are receiving innovative campaign solutions.
Shepherd has risen through the ranks quickly, having been promoted four times in five years at Lawrenceville, GA-based Integrative Logic. During his tenure as manager of business development, he won business with financial service, retail and hospitality sectors, and the company grew from eight to 40 employees.
While at the University of Alabama, Shepherd founded Results Driven Design, a direct and interactive printing fulfillment company, and worked for New York-based agency IMPS after graduating with a BA in communication and information sciences.
His success is rooted in the attention he pays to advancing the agency's data-mining and analytics capabilities, which directly affect clients' ability to understand and improve customer experience for their customers.
Marta Strickland, social media strategist, Organic
Marta Strickland has earned a reputation at Organic as a social media visionary. She spearheads global brands' social media campaigns, including Kimberly-Clark and Chrysler. In addition to her client focus, Strickland is actively developing a best practices framework for social media at the agency. She is also editor-in-chief of the digital agency's marketing blog, ThreeMinds.com.
Strickland led end-to-end development of Kimberly-Clark's social media program for its Kotex feminine hygiene brand, from community building to integration with the company's consumer services division.
In her Chrysler work, Strickland helped to architect the company's evangelist program, which enlists thousands of Chrysler enthusiasts to provide honest feedback on the troubled auto company's product and services development. Chrysler engineers, designers and executives have indicated feedback taken from the community is used to inform day-to-day decisions.
Strickland coordinates communication with agency peers on an ongoing basis in Organic's offices across the US to stay on top of social media trends.
Ian Swanson, cofounder and CEO, Sometrics
Consumers spend more time online every year, including playing social games. One marketing professional whose eye is keenly trained on the emerging space is Ian Swanson, cofounder and CEO of Sometrics.
The social media advertising and measurement firm develops avenues for advertisers to reach consumers through social games. Swanson led the development a full-service offer-and-payment management solution for online games, and assisted developers in making multi-player online games and virtual worlds more marketer-friendly.
Investors noticed. Last October, Sometrics received a round of Series B funding led by Steamboat Ventures. A year earlier, investment consortium The Mail Room Fund also injected the company with a round of capital.
Swanson speaks at various live events and conferences, including Community Next, the IAB Leadership Summit, AdTech and the Digital Media Conference.
Prior to Sometrics, Swanson was a business development manager at Userplane. He held positions at Sprint and Tracelogic before that.
Ryan Weber, VP of corporate strategy and co-founder, W3i
As co-founder and VP of corporate strategy, Ryan Weber has spent nine years growing W3i, a marketing applications company. W3i is the parent company of Freeze.com.
Weber handles W3i's sales and marketing initiatives and its technology services. He has an expert command of the application market and is able to zero in on what marketers need. He recently launched a marketing service called 3quency, which enables application marketers to increase engagement with users.
W3i's revenue grew 53% in the first half of last year compared with the same period in 2008 because of Weber's efforts. He was the recipient of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2006.
Prior to W3i and Freeze.com, Weber gained experience with online promotions by deploying a banner exchange network, a search engine optimization service and Web promotions consulting service.
Tatyana Zlotsky, director of marketing, Visible World
Tatyana Zlotsky has only worked at Visible World for a year, but her colleagues credit her for having a substantial impact on the business. In her time as marketing director, she has created a regular series of lead generation initiatives for the targeted TV ad company, as well as press and branding campaigns.
Zlotsky is responsible for planning and overseeing the company's marketing plan and budget, including marketing strategy, product marketing, digital programs, lead generation, search marketing, PR, corporate communications and branding. She has created effective and measureable lead generation initiatives, including e-mail campaigns, search engine marketing, e-newsletters and webinars, according to colleagues. The company's digital programs have seen their marketing generated leads increase by 158%, while decreasing cost-per-click by 32%. Click-through-rates have also significantly increased during her tenure. Meanwhile, during Zlotsky's tenure, a combination of SEO efforts resulted in a 53% jump in overall site traffic, while the bounce rate decreased by 30%.
Zlotsky previously worked as senior marketing manager at MessageLabs, a anti-spam company. Prior to that, she logged time as senior marketing manager at Emerson Electric, a manufacturing and technology company.