November 2006 - ERA's New Board Members

A Question of Leadership

By Paige H. Muller

ERA recently added seven new members to its 2006-2007 slate of Board of Directors, including the first Latin American woman.

Elected by ERA membership, their three-year terms of service officially began during the association’s 16th Annual Convention in Las Vegas this past September.

So who are the new faces of ERA leadership and what do they bring to the board table? Read on to meet the newcomers and learn about their vision for ERA’s future and top priorities for their inaugural year.

Branimir Brkljac
President & CEO, Studio Moderna

Brkljac, ERA Europe chair and European representative to the ERA U.S. Board, is profiled separately
click to read.




Steve Edelstein
Chief Marketing Officer, Backchannelmedia, Inc.

ERA: What do you see as priorities for ERA this year?
The direct-to-customer industry is growing rapidly and there are many factors that will continue this upside growth. They include:

  • Continued credibility of the direct-to-customer industry and the companies engaged in the marketing of these initiatives.
  • Understanding, embracing and implementing emerging technology solutions that will aid in better communication and greater revenue opportunities.
  • Consumer confidence is growing, yet at the same time, consumers are much more discriminating in the purchases that they are making. This leads to more attention paid to end-user data and the analysis that is performed with this data. Better understanding builds end-user loyalty = greater profitability.
  • Greater education will lend itself to the increase of utilization, which in turn will aid in the accountability and growth of this industry.
  • It is important to form alliances with associations and entities outside the ERA core audience. This is not only important in terms of raw membership numbers, but it will affect all integrated area of concentration within ERA (e.g., education, conference planning, location(s), etc.)
  • It is absolutely vital that ERA and the industry in general communicate effectively to the market in a timely manner. Public and private perception is critical to positive, long-term growth of the association. With accurate, compelling information circulated to not only the core ERA audience, but all members of the business community, the ERA will not only flourish in numbers, but impression and that makes good sense.

Adriana Eiriz
Managing Director, Vivar Advertising

ERA: What do you think is the greatest value you bring to ERA’s Board of Directors?
I have spent the majority of my career in the Hispanic direct response market place and have personally experienced the maturing of a new and emerging culture. I am also lucky enough to preside over one of the industry’s fastest growing DR Hispanic agencies, Vivar Advertising, which works with both corporate and entrepreneurial clients. I believe my experience and knowledge of the segment and my experience with all types of advertisers and media will allow me to help frame how ERA looks at the Hispanic marketplace in a very strategic and positive way-positive for the members and positive for the association.

Fern Lee
Executive Vice President, Gaiam

ERA: How would you describe the working relationship you hope to develop with the chair and the other board members?
I am interested in working with new media. I believe technology will be a strong force in determining a paradigm shift for our industry. I also would like to work with the integration of how to propel our industry into the next century. This Board of Directors is diverse and I am confident our individual talents will collectively create new ideas with action steps that will benefit not only ERA but the community at large.

Robert Roche
Chairman, Oak Lawn Marketing

ERA: Why do you want to serve on ERA’s Board of Directors?
My experience, especially in the international sphere, puts me in a position to help ERA become an even stronger global presence. With its important role in the industry, and with its even greater potential, ERA is an organization I am excited and honored to work with.

ERA: What is your vision for ERA’s future?
I see ERA as the organization that governments from around the world go to for advice and partnership when they put together legislation concerning our industry.

Lee Swanson
President, InPulse Response Group

ERA: What do you see as priorities for ERA this year?
I would say fragmentation of the media and the viewing habits of the consumer are two major issues that will reshape our industry. Since I play an active role in helping clients decide how and where to place their media and measure their results, as well as shaping their marketing message, I am in a good position to help our members adapt to the inevitable reality that there will be change. Of course, there are other issues such as increasing government scrutiny concerning marketing messages and privacy concerns. The Board must work very diligently to ensure our membership is well versed on these issues, as well as supporting active initiatives such as ERA’s Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP). The self-regulation program is critical to ERA for a variety of reasons, one of the most important being that the program sends a message to our legislators and our membership that ERA is highly motivated to set and uphold high standards for which our industry is accountable.

ERA: Are there any particular areas that concern you regarding the association or the industry overall?
ERA must evolve to provide its membership with a strong vision as to where the industry is headed. I hear confusion and concern on behalf of many of our constituents about media fragmentation, the Internet preying on TV audiences, and TiVo and other technological changes affecting the buying behaviors of our consumers. ERA needs to expand its educational services to the membership. One approach would be to increase our membership to include more companies that provide services in marketing venues like the Internet. Results from traditional DRTV campaigns that rely on direct-to-consumer sales are eroding, while overall e-commerce sales of such goods are rapidly increasing. InPulse has some clients posting more than 50 percent of their total revenue from the Internet. With DRTV driving more traffic to the Internet, ERA must be able to educate its membership on the various marketing strategies available to increase their campaign’s success rate. Expanding our membership to include more Internet business will help achieve this objective.

Jeff Tuller
President, Savvier, Inc.

ERA: How do you foresee the transition of leadership and influx of new members affecting the momentum ERA has built up over the past year?
As we look to the future, we cannot forget our past. Television direct response is the foundation of ERA. As our industry and technologies of electronic commerce have evolved, so too must we expand our membership, with further emphasis in the Internet and emerging technologies. TV marketers already incorporate these emerging technologies, and so it’s a natural fit to welcome and expand into these sectors. This is one of the key strategic goals for ERA for 2006-2007, which the current Board has built good momentum with the addition of several key Internet marketers, and I certainly look to support and help build upon this momentum in the upcoming years.

The ERA Board of Directors is made up of 19 voting directors and three ex-officio members representing all segments of the electronic retailing industry.

Paige H. Muller is ERA’s vice president, marketing communications. She can be reached at (703) 908-1020, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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