24 Direct Marketing Thought Leaders Pharma Should Know

At some point in time in one’s marketing career there is a moment of reflection, a point at which an epiphany occurs and homage is paid to those that have changed lives as well as the way products are marketed. 

There are exceptionally strong Pharmaceutical Direct Marketers that have changed the way brands market their products and have altered the course of the industry. Marc Schwartz, Mitch West, and Mark Davis are just a few that come to mind who have contributed to that change and have emerged as thought leaders in the industry.

But before these gentlemen and many others were able to reshape the course of Pharmaceutical marketing, there were generations of direct marketers who blazed the trail for many of us.  Here are a few people in my humble opinion that have inspired, influenced, and shaped generations of marketers and products.

DR. MARJORIE KALTER Director NYU Master of Science Integrated Marketing Program

Previously Executive Vice President and Account Managing Director at Wunderman (WPP Group) New York and Paris, leading integrated marketing programs for American Express, AT&T, Groupe Danone, Kraft, and AirFrance.  Awarded the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation’s Outstanding Educator award for 2004.  Member of the Direct Marketing Association’s ECHO Committee, the Board of Trustees for the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation, and Chairman of the DMA Hall of Fame Committee.

RUTH STEVENS ~ CRM Consultant, Author & Speaker

Her expertise in customer acquisition and retention derives from a decade and a half of hands-on marketing for both large enterprises and start-up companies. Just prior to beginning her consulting practice, she served as chief marketing officer at an Internet company in New York City. Before that, she had broad responsibilities for direct marketing at three corporate giants – IBM, Ziff-Davis and Time Warner.

She teaches marketing to graduate students at Columbia Business School. Ruth serves on the board of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.  She is past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the Direct Marketing Association and holds a BA from Hamilton College and an MBA from Columbia University.

You can learn more about Ruth at www.ruthstevens.com.

CARL FREEMONT ~ MEC, Global Chief Digital Officer


Prior to joining Digitas as the head of global media practice in 2000, he was Senior Vice President media services at CRM giant Wunderman. Publicis bought Digitas in 2006. During his 16 year tenure at Wunderman, he managed all direct marketing activities for the company including Ford, Citibank, American Express and AT&T.

Carl is an Instructor at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies: Marketing and Management Institute, Center for Direct Marketing. He has also been a guest lecturer on direct and interactive marketing at Columbia University, Boston College, and international and domestic trade conferences. He is a member of the Association of Interactive Marketing (AIM) and a former member of the Media Director’s board of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

Learn more about Carl at: Advertising Age April 2013


Bernice Grossman is principal consultant and founder of DMRS Group, Inc. In November of 2001, The Direct Marketing Club of NY presented her with The Silver Apple Award, in recognition of twenty-five+ years of outstanding contribution to the Direct Marketing Community. She most recently served as Chair Person of the Direct Marketing Association’s Business-to-Business Council.

Bernice began her career on the corporate side of the business where she developed her insights and contacts in several key marketing and systems management assignments. Her skills as a teacher, communicator, and liaison were honed during this time, as well as her renowned attention to detail, all of which have resulted in a successful career, both on the client and professional services sides of the industry.

More about Bernice can be found at: LinkedIn.com

JIM JOSEPH ~ President Cohn & Wolfe

With the strength of a power-lifting honey badger and the intelligence of, well, an NYU professor, Jim’s boldest move was transforming what was a struggling pharmaceutical advertising agency into an integrated marketing powerhouse. By moving from “sickness” to “wellness”, and from silo’d to holistic, Jim engineered a makeover that included new capabilities in CRM and digital, as well as a new mix of clients far beyond pharma into diverse areas of wellness.

Jim published his first marketing book in 2010 called “The Experience Effect,” which showed how building a powerful brand experience can create shareable consumer loyalty.  As Jim says, “without a great brand experience, you’re just another product.”  The book garnered much critical acclaim, winning a Silver Medal for Best Marketing Book and we’d bet his mother has a copy bolted to the refrigerator.  Sequels are in the making and his daily blog reminds us that, “marketing is a spectator sport.”

Follow Jim’s blog at: The Experience Effect

PERRY D. DRAKE ~ Principle Drake Direct 

Perry is one of the principles at Drake Direct a boutique digital marketing agency located in New York.  He uses emerging strategic trends to identify new media and technological strengths for marketing and defines best practices in measuring their effectiveness for his clients. Prior to his work with Drake Direct, Perry worked eleven years in a variety of roles at The Reader’s Digest Association.

Learn more about Perry at: Drake Business

MYRON GOULD ~ President and CEO at CRM Network

He is the founder of CRM Network, a Marketing Consulting firm providing Customer Relationship Management services, Marketing Communications services and tools, business and strategic marketing planning, consulting, training and education.

Mr. Gould has considerable experience integrating communications with databases and current technology to improve response to acquisition and retention efforts using segmentation, personalization and data mining.

Mr. Gould became a member of The Direct Marketing Association in 1972. He has served as a member of the Ethics Committee of the Insert Media Council and has been a judge for the Echo Awards competition. He is frequently asked to field questions from the press on a variety of subjects on referral by the DMA.

Learn more about Myron at: The CRM Network

ERNAN ROMAN ~ President Ernan Roman Direct Marketing

Ernan is one of the leading authorities in Voice of Customer driven Relationship Marketing, the discipline of improving customer’s experiences and engagement at all critical touch points, from web sites to social media interactions, to customer service centers.  He is recognized as the industry pioneer who created three important methodologies: Integrated Direct Marketing, Opt-In Marketing, and Voice of Customer Relationship Research.

Ernan has appeared frequently on ABC TV to discuss issues facing marketers and consumers. He was named to “B to B’s Who’s Who” as one of the “100 most influential people in Business Marketing” by Crain’s B to B Magazine.

More about Ernan Roman can be found at: ERDM People

MICHAEL BRONNER ~ Founder & Chairman Emeritus of Digitas and Upromise

Michael Bronner is a legendary marketer and the founder and chairman emeritus of Digitas and Upromise. Upromise was founded by Michael to help make college more attainable for middle class families. He serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club Boston, and previously on the boards of Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston University. In addition to this new honor of induction into DMA’s Hall of Fame, he is also a recipient of the Torch of Liberty award from the Anti-Defamation League.

HOWARD DRAFT ~ Executive Chairman, Draftfcb

In 2006, he was named chairman and CEO of Draftfcb, an entity that brought together Draft and FCB, each an acknowledged industry leader. The resulting agency has more than 9,500 employees spanning 96 markets worldwide.   Having first espoused a revolutionary new agency model in 1992, Howard recognized the dramatic paradigm shift underway in the ad industry as technology began giving consumers more control of the marketing message. He and colleagues at the Interpublic Group, Draft and FCB agreed on the need for a modern, innovative agency model for a new age.

The result was DraftFCB, the first and only global, behavior-based, holistic marketing communications organization with a unified management team operating against a single P&L. Its offerings include best-in-class capabilities in branding, advertising, direct and relationship marketing, promotions, retail, digital, sponsorship, media, and healthcare — with a relentless focus on creativity and accountability.

Howard turned what was ostensibly a small direct marketing agency into one of the world’s premier marketing services networks with expertise in direct, retail, promotion and digital marketing.

JAN BRANDT ~ Vice Chair Emeritus, AOL and Member, Pilot Group

Jan Brandt is currently vice chair emeritus of America Online, Inc. (AOL), a member of Pilot Group, an investment fund, and chairman of North American Membership Group, a portfolio company of Pilot Group. Prior to this,  Brandt was responsible for growing AOL’s worldwide membership from 250,000 in 1993, when she joined the company as an officer and vice president of marketing, to more than 30 million. By 1996 she was already named president of marketing. Known as the most innovative marketer in the online world, Brandt retired from active management at AOL in 2003.

RONALD L. BLIWAS ~ Head of A. Eicoff & Company

As the head of A. Eicoff & Company for 27 years and an employee of the agency for 37 years, Ron has established himself as the country’s leading authority on television direct response advertising. Under Ron’s leadership, Eicoff has grown to become one of the top 10 agencies inChicago, and its client base has greatly expanded over the years, including companies such as Sears,Bose Electronics,New YorkLife and Ameritrade.


An innovator in magazine circulation, Gordon Grossman was the first to develop a direct marketing sweepstakes (1962) and the first to use regression analysis in direct mail (1963) – both of these innovations at Reader’s Digest. He also created the first mass personalized mailing.


A direct marketing professional for more than 40 years, Cornelius Keating developed the negative-option automatic selling method for book and music clubs. He persuaded 19 states not to ban the practice, and persuaded the FTC to establish the Negative Option Rule of 1974.


A guru in developing direct-response in different media, Wunderman founded today’s Wunderman Cato Johnson, one of the world’s largest direct response and integrated communications agencies. A theorist, Wunderman is regarded as the first to have coined the term “direct marketing” in the 1960s.

ROBERT D. “BOB” KESTNBAUM (1932 – 2002)

Recognized as a leader in formulating, applying, and popularizing new concepts and approaches as sophisticated database/interactive marketing technologies evolved. Founded the direct, database, and Internet marketing management consulting firm Kestnbaum & Company in 1967.

Credited with the advancement of such database and interactive marketing concepts as standardization of direct marketing arithmetic, calculation and application of customer long-term value, applying database marketing methods and analyses to improve and measure general marketing and media usage, applying sophisticated financial modeling and statistical techniques to marketing challenges, and defining longitudinal or horizontal contact strategy.

MURRAY ROMAN (1920 – 1984)

Acknowledged founder of professional telemarketing and an instrumental force in its worldwide growth. Founded Campaign Communications, Inc., one of the earliest and largest telemarketing agencies specializing in creating innovative telemarketing programs for companies.

GEORGE S. CULLINAN  (1911-1963)

George Cullinan was the first to recognize the significance of databases as a foundation for successful direct marketing, and, as early as 1961, promoted the use and understanding of “recency, frequency, monetary” (RFM) customer data analyses.

VICTOR O. SCHWAB (1898-1980)

One of the top copywriters of all time, and the founder of Schwab & Beatty, the foremost direct response agency of its day, Victor O. Schwab wrote the famous headline for Dale Carnegie, “How To Win Friends and Influence People.”

DAVID OGILVY (1911 – 1999)

A giant in general advertising, David Ogilvy – founder of Ogilvy & Mather – called direct-response his “secret weapon,” encouraged all his copywriters to have direct-response experience, and was among the first to offer a direct-response advertising division to a general agency.


With a career spanning 65 years, Sackheim was a founder of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the first that utilized the negative option selling technique. He’s also famous for the advertising that launched the American Express charge card.

JOHN CAPLES (1900-1990)

A legendary Madison Avenue copywriter, Caples wrote the famous magazine direct-response headline “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano.” Author of Tested Advertising Methods and Making Ads Pay.

O.E. McINTYRE (1888-1967)

An innovator who pioneered demographic selection, merge/purge, and mailing lists on punched cards and computer tape, McIntyre founded his own company, the forerunner to today’s Metromail Corporation.

LEONARD J. RAYMOND (1898-1985)

Raymond established Dickie-Raymond, believed to be the first direct-response advertising agency, inBostonin 1921. During the 1930s and 40s, he developed scientific measurement to determine direct-response effectiveness.

For more information about the Direct Marketers mentioned in this post, click on the following link:

The DMA Hall of Fame Inductees

The DM MAD MEN image is a replication from AMC’s four time Emmy Award Winning Program “Mad Men”