We caught up with each and posed
a few questions to help you get to know
them better — and perhaps learn a few
useful secrets of success. Attendees of
Response Expo can hear more from the
group in a special roundtable conversation set for April 27, directly preceding
the induction ceremony.
Why do you believe you were
selected for induction to the
DR Hall of Fame?
Michelle Cardinal: I suspect it has something to do with my track record during
the past 20 years building two successful
advertising and media agencies.;In partnership with Tim O’Leary, we’ve been
one of the few agencies to successfully
meld creative and media services and remain highly respected in both areas.
Jonathan L. Congdon: I think it might
be that we’ve been a visible company
for many years and very involved in self-regulation issues for the industry. We’ve
worked hard to be a leader relative to the
image of direct marketers and to make
sure that we’re treating customers right.
Carl Daikeler: Because I’m old (laughs).
I suppose it’s really because of staying
power. I’ve survived and been around
the business since 1987, when I first
met Kevin Harrington. I stayed around
the business in many different forms
and worked with all the classics —;the
forefathers who invented the concept;of
Nancy Lazkani: I like to believe be-
cause I’m seen as a person that has been
a strong and consistent player in an
industry and has evolved through all the
changes and chaos. I have kept my focus
and relied on truth in advertising to help
me guide my clients and employees to
Tim O’Leary: I suspect it is because of
longevity. Business is always tough — and
it is particularly difficult to build businesses that last decades. Though it seems
like yesterday, I started in the business
almost 30 years ago — and have managed
to survive the many trials and tribulations
of the industry and economy.
Lenny Sands: Because of the years of
continued success and evolution in an
industry where people have a tendency
to come and go. Also, we’ve grown from
a small company to a company that’s selling products in 89 countries.
Rob Woodrooffe: I started Interwood in
the very early days of DRTV — 1974 —
and was lucky to be part of the tremendous domestic and international growth
of this exciting way of selling goods and
services. Our pioneering of the DRTV
“Power Branding” concept around the
world helped to make the industry a
Why do you think you were
able to maintain success in
business through all the ups
and downs this marketing
method has seen over the
Cardinal: Our relentless focus on staying ahead of our clients’ needs and making bold decisions about the direction of
our marketing, creative, and media strate-gies.;And we have laser focus on our core
values in “CREW”: courage, relationships, excellence, and winning.;We love
to win for our clients!
Congdon: I think we’ve kept it pretty
real. We know who we’re talking to and
we stay true to who we are. It helps when
you try to understand the customer and
go where they are — that’s where we are
now in the industry. Everyone is online
right now, rather than just watching TV.
You have to adapt or you go the way of
the dodo, as they say.
Daikeler: Being innovative — always
from a foundation of good fundamentals.
There’s a fundamental approach to direct
marketing that I’ve always studied and
continue to study with great curiosity.
Any innovation that we’ve been able to
achieve has very obvious and deep roots
in strategies developed by Joe Sugarman
(mail-order copywriter) and Ron Popeil
(pitchman and DR Hall of Famer) to
name just a couple. Anyone achieving
success with any longevity owes a lot of
gratitude to them — and to the original
Franklin Mint — to demonstrate how to
sell something directly to the consumer.
Lazkani: The one key component to
maintain a successful business is to admit
that you should never be comfortable.
People who know me know that I am
never comfortable or satisfied. I believe
in investing in people. That is the most
important asset for a service-oriented
business like mine.
O’Leary: I’ve always taken a long-term
perspective. In the early days, much of
the business was concerned with chasing
hit products with little regard for building
stable companies and brands. This is why
the business has always had such a bad
rap with consumers. Marketers that could
have used the format to build companies
chose short-term profits instead. I have
clients that I have literally worked with
for more than 25 years, and one of our
largest clients has been with us since we
opened the agency.
Sands: By continuing to use the decades of experience, as well as bringing in
the new generation of folks who know
how to communicate with millennials
and their peers. It’s a combination of
using an old merchant style merged with
the younger, tech-savvy style of communicating.
Woodrooffe: Certainly, there were —
and always are — the ups and downs.
First, you must continually believe in yourself. Second, you must always be positive. And third, every
experience — good or bad — increases your knowledge and strengthens your foundation. There are always valuable lessons to be learned — every time.
— Rob Woodrooffe
DIRECT RESPONSE HALL OF FAME