25th Anniversary Issue: A Ringside View

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Much has changed in the 25 years that DM News has had a ringside view of the direct marketing industry. So, on this silver anniversary, who better to chronicle the evolution than those in the ring? Consider the contributors and their companies, in no particular order.

There's Greg Wolfe of Circulation Specialists, which is a pioneer in magazine circulation outsourcing. George Zengo and Gordon Grote work for R.R. Donnelley, North America's largest printer. Dave Schrader is at NCR's Teradata Solutions, the developer of a shared-nothing parallel commercial database.

Ralph Stevens and Leon Henry know the list and insert world inside and out. Wendy Weber is president of Crandall Associates, which began compiling its first DM salary guide in 1979. Call center consultant Mitch Lieber pioneered "hot-transfer" to transfer qualified calls from an outsourcer to the point-of-sale, segmented scripts.

The Weather Channel Cos.' Debora Wilson spearheaded the launch of weather.com in 1995. One cannot talk of online advertising without bringing up one of its biggest champions - Kevin Ryan's DoubleClick. E-mail services firm Return Path's Matt Blumberg is a seasoned online vet, having run MovieFone's Internet division until its sale to America Online.

On the agency side, few haven't heard of the name on Steve Zammarchi's business card: Wunderman. Larry Kimmel is happy to point out that his agency, Grey Direct, is as old as DM News. Inter/Media Advertising's Syd and Bob Yallen can claim fame for memorable DRTV spots.

Postal commentator Murray Comarow served on two presidential commissions. He also signed off on the memo letting mail carriers wear shorts. In her 30 years at various agencies, Connie DeBord specialized in business-to-business, nonprofit and political marketing. On the topic of politics, there's American Target Advertising's Richard Viguerie. Next year, Tom Gaffny celebrates his own silver anniversary at relationship marketing firm Epsilon.

Speaking of experience, how about Bill Kuipers' 30 years in fulfillment, from loading dock to boardroom? And Charlie Prescott - there's a book on international DM waiting for his name on it. Don Libey doesn't have that concern. He has written six books on catalogs and marketing.

All of the articles look forward with confidence as they recall the industry's achievements from 1979 through 2004. For a blow-by-blow coverage of events, take a walk through the years with our timeline.

We also would like to thank the many contributors and the U.S. Postal Service for letting us use their old photographs and artwork to go with the articles.

We hope you enjoy our look back.
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