Brian Kurtz's recommendations for life, business and direct marketing

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WHITE PLAINS, NY - Brian Kurtz delivered the keynote at the luncheon at the 33rd Direct Media Client Conference and Co-op, talking about life, business and direct marketing lessons through a series of quotes.

The executive vice president of newsletter and book publisher Boardroom told the attendees that they probably heard everything that he was going to say before, but not the way he planned to deliver it.

"Be curious; remember there is always more than one way to do things; latch onto experts and mentors; listen to what people say; and always remember to take accountability for your actions," Mr. Kurtz told the assembled Direct Media clients and prospects.

He quoted Gordon Grossman, a direct mail guru: "First find out if you have a business."

The audience - all invitees of list services firm Direct Media - chuckled at this.

"Don't do too much with an idea on the outset," Mr. Kurtz said. "Beware of brainstorming meetings where you walk out having 17 great ideas."

He then quoted Adolph Auerbacher, former senior vice president at Meredith Corp: "For the people in business, follow the anecdotal evidence."

It is important to remember throughout your life and your business attempts that you are a salesman, whether you're selling lists, shoes or whatever, Mr. Kurtz said.

"Do what you do best and buy everything else around the corner," Mr. Kurtz said.

In other words, do what you can do best and outsource the rest. Know your strengths and your weaknesses as a company.

He said it is important to always pay attention. You can learn from both the mistakes and the accomplishments of others. Smart men learn from their own mistakes, but truly wise men learn from the mistakes of others.

"Nothing is turn-key," he said.

Everything is a process that takes time, thought, hard work and planning.

Also rethink your decisions, Mr. Kurtz advised, as he looked back at all the times he found himself saying, "I can't believe how stupid I was two weeks ago."

He said it is important to dream big, but small dreams should not be left in the dust.

"Steal smart," he said. "In the direct mail and list business, competition is really co-existence. We are all in this together."

It is important to work on your client relationships all year long, he said. People, for far too long, think that sending a Christmas card at Christmas time seals the relationship as a good one. Mr. Kurtz feels otherwise.

"Give Christmas gifts in July and relax in December," he said. "Relationship-building is all year round."

And don't forget to treat people every once in a while. Showing you care can go a long way.

"Grab the check," Mr. Kurtz said.

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