List Professionals Pay Tribute to Ed Burnett

Executives in the list industry remembered Ed Burnett yesterday, calling him an icon in direct marketing. Burnett died Feb. 25 of pneumonia.

“He did more individually to move the whole list area along, certainly in the business-to-business area, than anyone I've ever known or met,” said Ralph Stevens, senior vice president of MKTG Services. “Aside from that, he was one of the nicest human beings in the world.”

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

“I still laugh today when I think about him telling someone to 'sit down, maybe you'll learn something,' because he truly wanted to share his wealth of information,” said Susan McNamara, vice president at SK&A Information Services.

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.

“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 received 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.

“Personally, I will always be grateful for my start in the industry with Ed and his mentoring, support and friendship,” McNamara said. “In addition to his many articles and books over the course of his years, many of us also enjoyed his traveling journals complete with Goulda [his wife] illustrations.”

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

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