January 2008 - A Message From ERA's President & CEO

The Power of Planning

When I heard the story about the success rates for college graduates who had goals versus those who didn’t, I quickly became a believer in planning. If you are not familiar with the study, it goes like this…a group of recently graduated Harvard students were asked if they had goals. Eighty-six percent responded that they did not have goals; 11 percent said they did and the remaining three percent not only had goals, but they had written them down. Fast-forward 20 years, when the group was polled again. The 86 percent who had not established goals were earning half that of the 11 percent who had goals. This same 11 percent, however, were making 10 times less than the three percent who had actually written down their goals. In addition, the three percent group was responsible for 98 percent of the total wealth generated by the graduates!

March 1, at the eRetailer Summit in Miami, Fla., direct response industry leaders will meet to once again help ERA identify its opportunities for continued success. In fact, for the last four years, ERA has held a planning meeting around this conference and the results have been staggering. The industry’s self-regulation program, ERSP, and the new dues schedule for retailers and marketers are just two examples of programs that have been adopted as a direct result of these meetings.

Last year’s planning meeting participants wrote down a primary goal for the Association: sharpen the focus on servicing electronic retailers and marketers. ERA’s staff and member volunteers have spent the last year diligently working toward increased benefits for these “core” members. These benefits include enhanced conferences as evidenced at the Annual Convention in Las Vegas, as well as research specifically tailored for retailers who primarily use electronic mediums for direct-to-consumer commerce.

I have been struck by how passionately the service providers in our membership have embraced this transition into the association for eRetailers. While there is much work left to be done on the goal written down last year, it is clear that unlike those Harvard students, our 98 percent success rate will be realized much more quickly than the 20-year time period cited in the study.

As with any goal written down, we will continue on this path until it is accomplished and marked off the list. This year, we will focus on ERA’s mission and vision statements to ensure that as a trade association, we have the resources and tools necessary to ensure long-term success.


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