It’s been said that life has many chapters, but I’ll tell you this: the past 17 years— the years I’ve spent at the ditorial helm of Response — feel more like their own book.
With this July issue, that book is about to close. After 26
years in print — and after being the flagship of a group that’s
included the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA)
and Response Expo/MTC Expo for the past 12 years — you’re
holding the final issue of Response.
While part of this shift is prompted by the changing publishing world, I assure you that the long-time team behind
Response plans on remaining a force in the performance
marketing world. In this space, though, please indulge me as I
look back as what my time at Response has meant — not just
professionally, but also personally.
When I joined in March 2001, I was 29 years old and
being given the responsibility as a lead editor on a magazine
for the first time. There were no such things as email newsletters, digital versions, or social media accounts. It was simply a
monthly print publication — one that usually ran somewhere
in the neighborhood of 72 pages and could reach to more
than 100 depending on advertisers.
John was our young go-getter of a salesman. He helped
me learn how to network, and how to let my personality —
which I was always protective of among those I didn’t know
— flourish. Being comfortable in networking situations made
my job easier as time went on, even as we added one product
after the next.
While our work — editorially and financially — was recognized internally and in external editorial competitions, the
recognition of our readers has always been most important
to me. I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated your notes,
calls, and other outreaches about our work in the magazine
and on the educational stage at the Expo — even if you had
not-so-constructive criticism for us.
We became a true family at Response: John, me, our graphics director Monica Kollmann — who has done the layout
and design for every single issue of this magazine since its
inception — and everyone who’s spent time on our team.
Monica is maybe the single kindest person I know. Always
ready to find the good in people, to see the bright side. She’s a
talented graphic artist and photographer and her willingness
to always chip in and lend a hand has no better example than
the fact that she served — without being asked — as a sort of
adjunct photographer at both of my weddings.
We’ve been lucky to have great salespeople — AC, Dan,
Jess — and great marketing and ops folks like Kim, Anne,
Kristina, Kaitlyn, Sarah Joy, Kathryn, Kirstin, Lorrie, Brooke,
Sarah, Ron, Vedran, Ron Jr., Natalie, Chris, Brianna, and
Ranjan … and the list goes on.
During our peak — when we maxed out with a daily staff
of eight — I couldn’t have been luckier to have a better group
of senior editors on my side: Nicole (who’s freelanced for us
often in the years since and is expecting her first child any
day), Jacqueline, and Jackie. Their work was always on point,
and their efforts deserve the utmost thanks.
John, we’re not just publisher and editor. You’ve become a
valued friend and confidant. As you noted at my wedding to
Caitlin, you got promoted from “not in the party” at my first
to best man at my second. I can’t say enough about your loyalty and your inspiration. I look forward to tackling the next
challenge with you.
My time at Response has given me so much. Most impor-
tantly, I have this job to thank for my wife, Caitlin, who I
met while taking a picture of a sponsor she was talking to at
one of our DRMA networking events. I have it to thank for
one of the greatest moments I’ve ever shared with my dad,
on stage with Magic Johnson — a sports hero to us both,
and an even better man, it turns out — during the keynote
event at Response Expo 2011. I have it to thank for — liter-
ally — dozens of wonderful friends from across the country.
And I have it to thank for the many incredible and inspi-
rational interviews I’ve done over the years — none more
memorable than my 6: 30 a.m. PST call with London-based
Sir Bob Geldof for the cover of our April 2010 issue, or the
cover interview call, a few years earlier, with fitness legend
Jack LaLanne, who asked and answered a question I’ll never
forget: “Tom, do you like sex and money? Because if you do,
you’ll love Morro Bay!”
So, my time at Response — our time at Response — has
come to an end. It’s been a pleasure to serve you as a reader,
as a member of the DRMA, and as an attendee of our Expo.
Knowing that you got value out of what we did here is the
biggest compensation I could receive for doing this job.
I look forward to seeing you all again when I crack open
the next book and type: “Chapter 1.”
Thomas Haire, Editor-in-Chief
Tonight to Case the Promised Land …’