February 2008 - Membership Committee

ERA: For and By Retailers

By Stacy Durand

In its efforts to attract retailers and marketers over the last year, ERA has undergone a significant re-branding process that includes the adoption of a new dues schedule, augmented member services and a sharpened retailer focus for each of our conferences.

As co-chair of the Membership Committee, I am pleased to report that the committee has developed a list of top prospects derived from past conference non-member attendees, speakers and new companies entering the direct-to-consumer space. In concert with ERA staff, we are working on an aggressive campaign to bring in 100 new retailers this year, across all channels. This drive is enhanced by the participation of ERA’s Board of Directors, whose commitment to assist ERA in this endeavor serves as one of the Board’s goals. Further, committee members have pledged to visit new prospects to develop relationships that encourage ERA membership.

In tandem with this campaign, new services and benefits are being developed to draw and retain marketers and a special Retail Task Force has been formed. This task force, which meets monthly, helps ERA staff define benefits that are most relevant to retailers. Upon recommendation of the committee, ERA staff is sending government affairs updates to retailer members each month. Other opportunities, such as RSS feeds, advocacy and educational offerings are among the benefits being offered.

Indeed, research has been identified as one of the most compelling reasons retailers and marketers join. Therefore, in conjunction with Forrester Research, ERA has commissioned a paper on how consumers navigate the multichannel landscape and how the customer uses the various mediums (e.g., TV, radio, online). In the third quarter of the year, ERA commissioned a research study titled The Evolving Role of Direct Response Television in Multichannel Marketing Execution. The research demonstrated that DRTV continues to grow as a marketing medium, but has evolved into a driver of multichannel marketing. More significant, in order to make DRTV profitable on the front-end while also driving a multichannel strategy, it shows that DRTV marketers are accelerating their adoption and customization of emerging technologies, especially in the interactive sphere. Further, ERA offers monthly research to its members on various topics specifically for the direct-to-consumer marketer.

The Membership Committee also created a Mentor Program to assist new members in familiarizing themselves with their colleagues, the Association, and at events and conferences. The Mentor Program is made up of ERA volunteers, many of whom are committee members who are paired with new members to guide them through their initial membership period. In addition, I am very pleased to announce the expansion of the new member reception in Miami, and at all conferences, that will include introductions to the ERA leadership, committee members and staff. These receptions offer new members an opportunity to network, become acquainted with other new members, and, of course, encourage a sense of community and belonging.

These are merely the first steps in a year-long process to increase the number of retailer and marketer members. I encourage all ERA members to help increase the circle of direct-to-consumer retailers, whether it is through joining the committee, the Retail Task Force, or simply by e-mailing me or my co-chair, Nathan Fagre, with your suggestions, ideas and prospects.

Stacy Durand is the 2007-08 co-chair of the Membership Committee and president of Revenue Frontier in Santa Monica, Calif. She can be reached at (310) 584-9200, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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