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Industry Legend Ed Burnett Dies

DM News has learned that Ed Burnett died Feb. 25 of pneumonia.

Burnett is widely recognized as the pioneer of many of the list marketing concepts and techniques used in the industry today. As owner of Ed Burnett Consultants Inc., he trained and mentored many of the most prominent executives in the list business.

“Ed was, of course, a very good personal friend as well as a longstanding friend of DM News,” said DM News founder/CEO Adrian Courtenay. “He compiled our initial circulation list, which we then converted, with his assistance, and qualified by job title, industry and direct marketing involvement, enabling us to become the first DM publication with a circulation audit.”

Burnett gave direct marketing seminars nationwide on the art of list selection and use. Among his clients were Fortune 500 companies such as Xerox, IBM and AT&T on direct response marketing and analysis. He even traded barbs and witticisms in defense of direct mail on “Late Night With David Letterman,” according to a biography of Burnett posted on the International Society for Strategic Marketing’s Web site.

Burnett was a longstanding columnist for DM News and introduced the first authoritative dictionary of direct marketing terms, Courtenay said, “for which we still get requests from time to time, even though the series was published in the mid-’80s.” He gathered the concepts and techniques that he had written about over the years and authored a book for Prentice Hall in 1988, “The Complete Direct Mail Handbook: Everything You Need to Know About Lists and How to Use Them for Greater Profit.”

“The industry lost a great man. There are just too few of them left,” said Dave Nussbaum, president of Direct Network Inc., North Brunswick, NJ. “I hope the DMA Hall of Fame committee recognizes his contributions and gives him the honor that he deserves this year … although posthumously. If he doesn’t belong in it, who does?”

Though the Hall of Fame award eluded Burnett, he received countless others over the years. In 1978, the Mail Advertising Services Association named Burnett “Man of the Year.” The Direct Marketing Association gave Burnett the first List Leader of the Year award in 1983. He got a Silver Apple from the Direct Marketing Club of New York in 1987. In 1993, the DMA honored Burnett with a Business-to-Business Lifetime Achievement Award.

DM News will pass along funeral and memorial service details as soon as they are released.

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