Silver Apples 2019

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Meet the DMCNY 2019 Silver Apple Honorees

By Ginger Conlon | 9.25.19

Each year the DMCNY presents its highly distinguished Silver Apple Awards to several professionals who have at least 25 years in marketing and who not only have excelled in their careers, but also have generously contributed their talents and time to the marketing industry. We'll be introducing you to the 2019 honorees over the next few weeks, in advance of DMCNY's annual Silver Apples gala on November 7 at Edison Ballroom in New York. 


Corporate Golden Apple honoree

Marketing EDGE

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Whether a student is looking to launch a promising career in marketing or a CMO is looking for outstanding new talent, Marketing EDGE is where they often turn to help achieve those goals. The nonprofit has been assisting students, academics, and executives to successfully connect for more than 50 years. Its programs help students gain a real-world understanding of the industry, they partner with academics to support their teaching and research, and assist marketing leaders in diversifying their teams.

In a conversation with MKTGinsight for DMCNY, Marketing EDGE president Terri Bartlett discussed what sets the organization apart in how it serves the industry, as well as how students determined to succeed take advantage of the programs it provides.

What makes Marketing EDGE stand out?

Marketing EDGE is the only nonprofit organization that is solely focused on serving college students, academics, and practitioners in the performance marketing field. We engage more than 700 academics every year from 400-plus schools globally. An average of 1,200 students participate in our programs annually. 

But what makes Marketing EDGE truly unique is the commitment, drive, and passion of our board, staff and the corporations and executives who have supported us over the decades. That distinguishes this organization from any other. 

How does Marketing EDGE support the industry?

There are several critical ways that Marketing EDGE provides unique benefits to individuals and companies in the industry. Our decades-long success is anchored by our ability to connect corporations and students and, also to influence the evolution of curricula at universities across the United States. 

The most visible and obvious benefit to the industry is access to market-ready talent. Over a 53-year history, an estimated 103,000 students have engaged with this organization.

Another is the access we provide executives to each other. Many industry leaders identify this as the prime reason they have supported the organization over the years.  

Visibility is another major benefit among our three key constituent groups: academics, corporations, and students. 


Finally, we give the industry an opportunity to give back by supporting the next generation of talent.  As younger generations select employers based on their corporate social responsibility, we are seeing philanthropy take on greater importance.  


Tell us about your core programs.

Our programs are designed to serve both academics and students. The best way to think about how they're set up is as a funnel. At the widest part, we introduce a large number of students to the field of marketing by showing them the opportunities in digital/data performance marketing and what it’s like to have a successful career in this field so they can start to consider their own path in this industry. 

As the funnel narrows, the bar is raised. We work closely with academics to help identify students who are the cream of the crop. We’re looking for students who have the skills, mindset, temperament, and commitment to not just succeed in this field… we’re looking for those who will be leading the industry in the coming decades. 

While education is top of mind, we also support students to get the most out of their college career. That’s where our scholarship program comes in. From 1996 to 2019, we have awarded $576,000 to 229 students to help allay some of the financial burdens of college.


Tell us a favorite student story. 

I'll tell you about Alicia Harris, a student who reflects the type of market-ready, diverse students our member companies are looking for. 

Alicia is determined, committed, and incredibly courageous and happens to be the first in her family to attend college (referred to as “first-gen”). She learned about Marketing EDGE at school and attended our Collegiate Summit. Yes, she learned about marketing and interacting with industry leaders, but what was most inspiring to me about her experience was the confidence she gained in herself. It was a changemaker for her in how she conducted herself and how she started to see herself in her career. A lot of people learn marketing, but when you impact how students see themselves, how they carry and envision themselves, and then to see them become leaders in our field, that's when you really begin to impact the trajectory of a person’s life — and the future of this field.

Alicia is just one example. We have countless stories of students who became empowered through their involvement with Marketing EDGE because someone believed in them, saw that they could succeed in this field, and provided the support and resources to help them take the steps they needed to thrive in their career and their life.

For Marketing EDGE, four years ago we committed to diversify our student base, with a particular focus on first-generation students. Thanks to the great work of our program team, currently, 38% of our students are diverse and 26% are first-gen. 


What's surprising about Marketing EDGE?

So many people know this organization through DMA, which in 2018 was acquired by and is now a part of ANA. 

For years, many saw no real distinction between Marketing EDGE — formerly the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation — and DMA. The reality is that Marketing EDGE has always been an independent nonprofit organization that came into existence because of the vision, determination, and support of DMA members. As the landscape was shifting several years ago, we realized we had to connect directly with people in this field. To keep pace with a fast-changing industry, we also realized we had to develop a stronger identity, which led to changing the name to Marketing EDGE.   

We were merely following in the footsteps of the founders of this organization, who were true trailblazers. They had the foresight to know future talent was critical. That trailblazing spirit was apparent last year when our board voted to forge an independent path. During that meeting there was a palpable energy among the trustees that can be described as pride in what the organization is, has been, and can be in the future. 

Now, there’s an opportunity for those in the industry to take ownership of Marketing EDGE as their industry nonprofit. The DMCNY’s Golden Apple Award could not be more powerful, nor timely. I hope that everyone in this field takes personal pride in the success of this organization and our shared ability to deliver on our vision: to launch the next generation of diverse and inclusive marketing leaders. Let’s join together to prepare future leaders in this field for generations to come. 

Meet the other 2019 DMCNY Silver Apple honorees:

  • Carl Horton Jr., Associate Partner, IBM

  • Gretchen Littlefield, CEO, Moore DM Group 

  • Joe PychCofounder and CEO, Bionic Advertising Systems, and Founder and CEO, NextMark 

  • Britt Vatne, President, Data Management, ALC 

  • 2019 Apple of Excellence, Advocacy: 
    Tony Hadley, Senior Vice President, Regulation & Public Policy, Experian

  • 2019 Apple of Excellence Disruptor: 
    Mayur Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Freshly

About the Author

Ginger Conlon, editorial advisor at DMCNY's MKTGinsight, catalyzes change in marketing organizations. Ginger is editor-in-chief of MediaVillage and president of DMCNY. She is a frequent speaker on marketing and customer experience, and serves in advisory or leadership roles for several industry organizations. Ginger was honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the marketing industry.

Find her at @customeralchemy and on LinkedIn.