NEW YORK — Stan Rapp had plenty of time to reminisce before concluding his remarks and getting a standing ovation for receiving the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's 2005 Vision Award.
“This is not an ordinary industry. We have come so far in the [approximately] 20 years since 'MaxiMarketing' was published,” he said, referring to the first of six books he wrote.
David Ogilvy called the book a must-read for everyone in advertising, an endorsement that helped it become a best seller with more than 250,000 copies in a dozen languages sold worldwide.
“We did not have the best of reputations going back 20 or 40 years ago,” Rapp said. “We were always seen as outside the mainstream of marketing. If you were on the advertising side of our business, you were below the line. There was always that [feeling of] not quite making it with the rest of the marketers.”
That sentiment has changed, he said.
“We learned how to change our positioning,” he said. “We learned how to take credit for being database marketing, one-to-one marketing, interactive marketing [and] relationship marketing, which are all part of direct marketing.”
Rapp founded Rapp Collins Worldwide 40 years ago with Tom Collins. The agency's revenue today is estimated at $350 million with new clients like Progressive Insurance and Best Buy. Headcount is 2,000 executives in 50 offices across 38 countries. It is a member of New York-based Omnicom Group Inc., the world's largest marketing services conglomerate.
“The biggest challenge in marketing is direct marketing because we are there being measured every day in real time, and what we do must work,” Rapp said.
The DMEF also presented its 2005 Corporate Leadership Award at the event. Accepting on behalf of Kraft Foods was Kathleen Olvany Riordan, vice president, global marketing resources & initiatives.