30 direct marketers under 30

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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.

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