Christine Aguilera
Terri Bartlett

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT

MILESTONES: travelers watched for them in the days before modern highways made long journeys a fairly straightforward matter. Appearing at significant points on the road, these upright markers of wood or stone were clear signs that something had changed, progress made on the way to one’s destination.

In every sense, these last two years have been a milestone for our organization—and for the thousands of students, academics, and professionals we impact through our growing array of programs and services. Together we have marked a turning point in our unwavering efforts to “educate, develop, grow, and employ” those who ultimately will shape the future of the marketing industry.

One indication of our progress seems fairly simple, though it is packed with meaning. In June 2013, our Board of Trustees agreed to give our organization a new name—Marketing EDGE. For us, this change amounted to a bold statement of purpose. The 48 industry leaders who serve on our Board and Chair’s Advisory Committee decided that our previous name—the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (DMEF)—no longer reflected our expanding role at a time of rapid change in our field.

A CHANGING LANDSCAPE

The forces behind this industry-wide transformation come down to this: technology and demographics. For example, the rapid growth of media outlets continues to generate a vast array of methods and possibilities for reaching potential customers. At the same time, demographic shifts are playing a major role in today’s marketplace. As baby boomers exit in droves, sufficient numbers of students are not gaining the technological and quantitative skills needed to meet the marketing industry’s needs. The result: the much-touted skills gap.

According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Co., by 2018 there will be approximately 140,000 to 190,000 unfilled positions for data analytics experts in the US. Other observers forecast a shortage of 1.5 million managers and analysts able to understand and make decisions based on big data.

Clearly, the landscape is shifting, and the executives who make up our Board are well aware of the challenges. As marketing leaders, in fact, they have been for some time. That is why our Strategic Plan calls for far-sighted initiatives to directly address the challenges confronting our industry.

RISING TO THE CHALLENGE

With so much at stake, we are delighted to report that, over the past two years, we have made meaningful strides toward turning those goals into realities. As always, the impetus behind our efforts is the mission that has driven Marketing EDGE since its founding in 1966. That mission is expressed through our motto—

Educate. Develop. Grow. Employ.

—all with a view toward giving something back to the industry we serve.

Through education, career preparation, scholarships, and direct access to job opportunities, Marketing EDGE has changed the lives of nearly 5,000 students this past year alone. As outlined in our Strategic Plan, we are determined to raise that number, drastically expanding our programs and scaling our services to broaden access and opportunity at a level unheard of in the history of the organization. Our sights are set on 2016—our organization’s 50th anniversary.

Even with this record of success, the past two years’ achievements constitute a major step forward. In June 2013, for example, we held our first I-MAX (Interactive Marketing Analytics Xperience) event, expanding our educational reach to students in a wide variety of majors. Over the past year, we also launched our Career Services initiative, offering a variety of new approaches to give talented students entrée to rewarding positions in the field.

There are other facets to our mission: research is one of them. Marketing EDGE serves as a bridge between industry and academia, promoting and disseminating the scholarship and new ideas on which our field thrives. Examples include our widely respected Journal of Interactive Marketing ®, Direct/Interactive Marketing Research Summit, and Shankar-Spiegel Best Dissertation Proposal.

FINANCIAL STRENGTH: THE FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS

Ultimately, an organization’s achievements are as meaningful as the benefits they bring to others. Marketing EDGE continues to strengthen its long tradition of opening doors to promising young men and women who one day will join us as colleagues.

As we have noted, these past two years were far from business as usual—they were, in fact, pivotal in many respects. Since all our initiatives depend upon the financial health of this organization, we are especially pleased to report our advances on this front as well. Marketing EDGE continues to benefit from the sound fiscal stewardship of our Board. We made a number of moves to ensure the continuing accountability and engaged management that have kept this organization strong since 1966. These efforts are laying the foundation for the financial growth required for Marketing EDGE to meet the expanding needs of the marketing industry.

ADVANCING TOGETHER

In this report, we highlight our most salient achievements of 2012 - 2014. So doing, we set the stage for the continuing advancement of our mission—for a future of continued service to college students interested in marketing careers, academics who teach and conduct research critical to our field, and to our industry itself. Above all, we acknowledge the enormous contributions of those who support our efforts in every sense of the word. Our success is possible thanks largely to the many marketing leaders and practitioners who share the vision that motivated this organization’s founders nearly a half-century ago. We are confident that their foresight and commitment—bolstered by the generosity of our supporters—will strengthen Marketing EDGE as we prepare for our next half-century of service.

Sincerely,