Carina Pologruto, Marketsmith: DMN 2014 40 Under 40 Award winner

Carina Pologruto
GM & EVP of Client Services, Marketsmith Inc.

Winning ways: Direct response marketers promise the miraculous: a cleaner that makes your ’98 Taurus look showroom new; grass that needs less mowing and weeding; glasses that give you night vision. Marketsmith, an adviser to brands that use DRTV, is equally bold in its claims: It guarantees clients a 25% revenue increase. One of the reasons it can do so is Pologruto. She led a turnaround for Lillian Vernon from negative to positive cash flow in 12 months. For Philosopy skincare, she reversed double-digit declines with a return to DRTV. She also helped build out the UX for i.Predictus, a demand-side TV platform that has delivered double-digit gains to direct response companies including Euro-Pro and Tristar Products.

Defining moment: The economic downturn of 2008 had an uplifting effect on Pologruto’s career. “Budgets were cut, catalogs were eliminated, businesses were shuttered. We needed to help clients diversify their businesses. What was once a single-channel and single-client focus for me became omnichannel.”

Words to live by: “Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.”

Head swivel:  “We were spending 60% of manpower on churning data manually. That prompted our CEO to spin off i.Predictus, [a] demand-side television platform. Data that once took us seven days to churn now takes seven minutes and allows us to drive strategy based on real-time data insight.”

Good advice: “Never leave a teammate behind. Always offer help. The extra work will provide additional insight and you never know when you might be on the other end of that equation.”

First job:  During high school, as a file clerk in a doctor’s office. “The environment was so fast-paced. I was enlisted to answer phones, deal with patients, even process accounts receivable. It was my first exposure to customer service. You were dealing with people who are nervous or scared and had to find the right way to communicate clearly and respectfully.”

On your nightstand: David & Goliath by Malcom Gladwell

Favorite app: “BuzzFeed, hands down! News, culture, business, and humor all in one place.”

Click or tap here to read the stories behind the successes of the other Direct Marketing News 2014 40 Under 40 winners. 

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