When I began my term as ERA’s chairman, the direct response industry and its trade association were in a period of transition: They were in a promising but uneasy place, somewhere along the evolutionary timeline between their television past and their omnichannel future.
A lot has changed for the better over the last 12 months, but the association and many in the industry it represents find themselves in transition: They are not quite there yet. It reminds me of a quote I’ve always liked: “Honor the space between no longer and not yet.”
ERA is working hard to evolve, and it is well on its way.
Having seen the inner workings of ERA over the past year, I can tell you ERA gets it. It understands that ERA membership and DR are no longer just about TV. And yet, the association is not quite “there” yet in terms of enticing many non-TV marketers to join as members, or attend and participate in its trade shows and conferences.
We need to honor the space between “no longer” and “not yet.” What has happened at ERA in the past 12 months, and what will happen in the next 12 months and beyond, is important. It is going to define what this trade association will be— and how relevant—in the new age of omnichannel marketing.
I believe ERA is rapidly evolving into the go-to trade association for all direct response marketers, on TV and off. The pace of this transformation has accelerated in the last year, as the board presided over a transition to a new association president, Chris Reinmuth.
We hired Chris to run the association—and to revamp and reinvigorate its efforts to reach out to not only our existing and highly valued core members, but also our new, non-TV marketers. I’m delighted to say that he has already succeeded in doing so, in only a few short months on the job.
We have also formed a new and exciting promotional alliance with the Internet Retailer Conference+Exhibition (IRCE), attracted digital and social media experts to speak at The Great Ideas Summit (GIS) and this month’s D2C Convention, and are rolling out regional roadshows to introduce ERA to digital and social media marketers around the country. Hopefully, they will attend D2C and GIS and contribute their energy, enthusiasm, and business acumen to ERA’s flagship events.
The future of ERA is bright. It may still be in a transitional period, like many of its member businesses. But ERA is working hard to evolve, and it is well on its way. Thank you again for giving me the privilege of being your chairman over the past year, and helping me contribute to the future of the association.
Immediate Past Chairman, ERA