Three new members and a new ERA Europe Chair officially joined the ERA board for the 2015-2016 term during the D2C Convention in Las Vegas last month, ensuring that it represents the diverse group of marketers, retailers, suppliers, and support businesses engaged in direct response today.
Serving as Chairman this year is Gregory J. Sater, who specializes in intellectual property and advertising issues as a partner in Venable LLP’s advertising, marketing, and new media practice. Sater represents leading DRTV advertisers, online marketers, and other companies, advising on advertising practices, compliance, class action defense, and more.
Sater joined the board three years ago with a keen interest in providing ERA with strategic guidance in areas such as education, self-regulation, and government affairs. Since, ERA has accomplished the impossible in member services, Sater says, continuing to add value while keeping dues affordable. The association has recognized an irreversible change in consumers’ shopping behavior, and has taken substantive steps to educate members about it.
“I am proud to have played a small role in ERA’s success as a board member for the last three years,” Sater says. “A trade association is no greater or worse than the people who volunteer their time to operate it. I wanted to volunteer my time to help.
“After having represented so many of you as an attorney, I am honored to have been elected Chairman,” Sater adds. “Fortunately or unfortunately, this is a time of great change, disruption, and uncertainty for our industry. A paradigm shift has occurred for our customers from TV to digital, and passive to active. My No. 1 goal as ERA’s new Chairman is to gather your invaluable input and ideas about this. Together, we will steer this ship intelligently into uncharted, multichannel waters.”
ER also reached out to new and returning board members to discuss their reasons for serving, the key issues facing DR, and what they believe will ensure future growth for the association and its members. Here’s what they had to say.
ER: What goals do you have set for your tenure on the board?
Scott F. Reid: I intend to bring a global perspective that helps ERA provide even greater value to international and domestic members alike. I’d also like to support and drive further development of the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) to include back-end marketing practices to ensure consumers trust our industry. I also plan to continue supporting ERA’s efforts to address the counterfeiting problem that affects a majority of marketers.
Isabelle Fournier: As Chair of ERA Europe, my role is to use my 20 years of experience in home shopping to make sure that ERA Europe delivers value to its members, and that the association gets the visibility it deserves.
ER: What inspired you to serve on the Board of Directors?
Jennifer De Marco: Over the past few years, I have become increasingly involved with the hard work ERA does through direct involvement with various committees [and] ERSP. It seemed like a natural progression to serve on the board.
Kendra Elliott: [Many people] don’t fully understand how important ERA is not just to our industry, but also to advertising in general. My interest in joining the board is to bring more visibility to the great work ERA does in Washington that benefits everyone involved in the direct response business.
Reid: Our organization firmly believes (and has experienced) that the more energy you put into ERA, the more you value you get from it. I think that the next few years will be very important to ERA as it continues its transition from a TV focus to an omnichannel focus. It’s an exciting time to serve.
“ERA has made significant progress toward evolving its content’s focus to bring more digital and multichannel education to members.” –Christopher Hearing, President,
Direct Holdings Global
ER: How do you feel your involvement benefits ERA members?
De Marco: I understand the perspectives of the different member categories; the political, legal, and regulatory landscape; and the important role of ERA. I bring a fresh pair of eyes and ears, and look forward to making myself available as a sounding board to all members.
Elliott: The direct-to-consumer, subscription marketing model is exploding, and that’s what we’ve done at Guthy-Renker for 26 years. ERA needs to [help] emerging companies understand the potential risks involved in this type of marketing. I am hoping to assist in bringing that visibility.
Christopher Hearing: I’ve been working with CEO Julie Coons, the ERA team, and other board members to develop a sound strategic plan that provides terrific benefits to all ERA members, present and future.
Shannon Moyer: As in-house counsel for the world’s largest multimedia retailer, I can offer the views and perspective of a large retailer on various issues facing marketers and suppliers, particularly regulatory issues. I have contacts and relationships with other trade groups and government officials that may be useful in advancing the goals of ERA.
Reid: Our business is focused on omnichannel marketing and has a very customer-centric philosophy, both of which are critical to succeeding in today’s environment. Being a part of ERA’s leadership will allow that experience to create more value for members.
ER: What do you think is ERA’s most significant accomplishment of the last year?
De Marco: I, personally, have enjoyed and found tremendous value in the ERA Blog. The content over the last year has become increasingly forward-thinking, on-point, and thought-provoking.
Hearing: ERA has done a very good job of responding proactively to the changing nature of the industry, and has made significant progress toward evolving its content’s focus to bring more digital and multichannel education to members. There’s more work to be done, but we are on the right track.
Chris Reinmuth: It’s tough to pinpoint one thing. However, if I had to highlight an area I feel we have done the best at, I would point to ERA’s continued leadership in advocacy. It is one of ERA’s greatest strengths, and something we need to continue to leverage.
Richard Wechsler: Over the past year, I’d have to say that our lobbying efforts really stand out. But so do the changes that have taken place in educational sessions at the conferences—the increased number focusing on digital marketing is extremely impressive.
ER: What do you see as the most important issues ahead for ERA?
De Marco: Technology, consumer expectations, the legal/regulatory/legislative landscape, and the channels of marketing/distribution that inevitably will continue to change and evolve. With that comes opportunities for new categories of members, as well as opportunities for ERA to provide content and resources that match the evolution of the industry.
Fournier: The main issue is to ensure the loyalty of our current members, as well as attract new ones. Conferences play a major role in this, and are an incredible source of inspiration.
Hearing: The ongoing evolution of how we reach customers is a huge issue for all marketers and suppliers. Right behind that is increasing regulatory pressure. Initiatives such as Operation Chokepoint represent a significant risk to the industry, and ERA’s lobbying efforts and the ERSP program will be even more important as we move forward.
Collette Liantonio: I’d like our organization to be more relevant in the digital age of marketing. We need to maintain a presence on social media, and come up with new strategies to ensure that our brands are being delivered to the consumers through all devices.
Moyer: Responding to the needs and concerns of members facing an ever-changing retail environment that places greater emphasis on social media and content marketing, and an increasingly burdensome regulatory environment.
Reid: I think we need to continue the transition to an omnichannel focus, and broaden the membership base by bringing new members in to ensure our association remains strong and relevant.
Reinmuth: Hands-down, becoming more digitally relevant and diversifying to avoid being portrayed as “the infomercial guys.” Don’t get me wrong: TV and digital are equally important, but we can’t become slaves to one of those mediums. We need to truly become an omnichannel association.