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Field Reports - April 2012

1 Apr, 2012 By: Thomas Haire Response

Response Exclusive

Ray Golden Speaks on His Career and His Daughter’s Battle

By Thomas Haire (

OMAHA, Neb. — Ray Golden, who spent more than 25 years on the teleservices side of the direct response business, most notably with West Corp. (1991-2005), has been battling lung cancer in recent months. Just weeks ago, he was moved into hospice care.

In honor of his years of service to the DR business, Response and the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) have made Golden’s final wish the DRMA Cares project through Response Expo 2012: building support for the Amber Golden Education Fund.

Just two months ago, Golden announced the formation of this fund for his daughter Amber. She has gone through five heart surgeries in her young life and is now in her third year of nursing school in order to give back to those who have helped her and others. Continuing her education to completion is likely to cost more than $50,000.

“She is working toward her B.S. degree in nursing, and then plans to continue on to earn her nurse practitioner degree,” Golden tells Response in an exclusive interview. “She’s a straight-A student and wants to be in this role.”

Moments before her most recent heart surgery, Amber was inspired by an anesthesiologist. Ray Golden says, “She sat down next to Amber and told her, ‘We’re ready to go. Do you have any questions?’ Amber said no. But the woman could tell there was something more. She said to Amber, ‘As you can see by my face, I’ve been through a lot of trauma and surgeries in my life. I always had questions I didn’t ask before those surgeries. They can’t start this surgery without me, so we’re going to sit here a few minutes just to make sure you don’t have any questions.’ About two minutes later, Amber asked, ‘Could I die?’ The anesthesiologist answered, ‘Not on my watch!’ A nurse practitioner talks to a family every half hour during a surgery, and is personally involved with patients. Who better than somebody who’s been in that position?”

Golden is a natural storyteller. The Air Force veteran weaves yarns about his time at WATS, an early precursor to West, and the thrills of learning the business from his mentors, Gary West and Steve Idelman.

“In 2006, I won a lifetime achievement award for service in telemarketing alongside Gary and Steve from Customer Interaction Solutions magazine, a bible of the telemarketing industry,” Golden says, speaking of one of the biggest thrills of a career that saw him help land AT&T’s Reach Out America toll-free campaign and help Tylenol solve their tampering crisis in the 1980s.

“I got a call from Johnson & Johnson (J&J) at home on a Sunday morning that they were going on ‘The Phil Donahue Show’ the next day and telling America to flush their Tylenol bottles down the toilet, and replace them with new capsules,” Golden recalls. “They wanted operators to answer the calls to order those new capsules. We started with 200 agents per day and eventually grew it to 500-600 agents per day handling these calls. Now, in college marketing courses, they use the Tylenol case to educate students about how J&J handled the crisis. It’s the smartest consumer product recovery campaign ever executed. Tylenol gained back 80 percent of its market share in six months.”

But nothing lights Golden up more than talking about his daughter. “She has to have her pulmonary valve replaced every 10 years due to a birth defect and the resulting surgeries during the first couple years of her life that put such strain on her little heart,” he says. “The most recent surgery was in 2006, and we meet with her cardiologist for an ECG every year. She’s just thriving now. What’s amazing about it is that she just has a magical aura, a spectacular personality.”

As part of the DRMA Cares drive to help Amber’s educational dreams, you have many different outlets to help the cause:

  • There will be a donation station on site at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront during Response Expo 2012, May 15-17.
  • At the Response Expo Golf Tournament on May 15, the DRMA will sponsor a “mulligan hole,” where players can pay $20 (or more) to take a mulligan. All proceeds will go directly to the Amber Golden Education Fund.
  • And you can always donate directly by sending a check payable to: Amber Golden Education Fund c/o Wells Fargo Bank N.A., P.O. Box 3408, Omaha, NE 68103.

Response Q & A

CoreMedia Celebrates 20 Years With Huge Benefit Event on May 24

Glenn DeKraker is the founder and CEO of Fairfield, N.J.-based CoreMedia Systems Inc., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a leading direct response media software analysis and optimization company. CoreMedia’s leadership role in the space is balanced by DeKraker’s drive to give back to charities that are important to him and the company as a while. Recently, Response sat down with DeKraker to discuss the company’s anniversary and its upcoming charity event in New York.

Q: Can you talk about the history of CoreMedia as it reaches its 20th anniversary?

A: The company was founded in 1992 with the launch of CoreBuy and CoreSpot, media pre-buy and buy stewardship systems for general market advertising agencies. In 1997, we were retained by A. Eicoff & Co. to rebuild its direct response media system. This engagement charted a new future for CoreMedia. During the next few years, we phased out our general market business to focus exclusively on DR with the launch of our flagship product, CoreDirect. Today, we feel fortunate to have a partnership with nine out of 10 agencies that use syndicated software solutions.

Q: What does CoreMedia do for direct response agencies and marketers that sets it apart from other companies in this space?

A: We develop software systems to buy, manage, analyze and optimize direct response media. We bring the power of focus and experience to the space. Direct response is the only industry we serve and our deeply experienced staff focuses all of its energy on developing and supporting software and data solutions that help our clients optimize their media and marketing performance.

Q: What are the two biggest accomplishments for CoreMedia during its 20-year history?

A: The decision to focus on direct response was pivotal. At the time, there were nine companies supporting media buying and back-office automation in the general space. We set about to convert what were once competitors into partners by integrating their buy systems into our direct response system. Buyers could continue to use their systems of choice while taking full advantage of our ROI system, CoreDirect. Second, our investment in developing and refining response attribution models has enabled our clients to bring the accountability of offline media in line with the ROI measures that are inherent with online media. Our clients can measure the true return on media investments for the full media mix.

Q: To celebrate the anniversary, you’re hosting a benefit event in New York this May. Tell us about the event, the agenda and whom it is benefitting?

A: We are hosting a private event for the DR industry at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on May 24. It benefits Good Tidings Foundation, a domestic children’s charity focused on education, the arts and athletics for children in need and features a concert by platinum recording artist O.A.R. We are actively recruiting sponsors and have had a strong, immediate response from CoreMedia clients, national cable outlets, data and system providers and other media companies. One-hundred percent of their donations go to Good Tidings and they can take the full 501 (c)(3) deduction. We are inviting direct response media and marketing professionals and sponsor guests to attend, and we expect more than 1,000 attendees. The concert will be fun, and the fellowship will be even better.

Q: Giving back is clearly a theme at CoreMedia. Why is it so important to you and what do you hope this upcoming event accomplishes?

A: Our anniversary celebrations are annual events to help others. This year, we created to ignite both corporate and personal philanthropy within the DR community. We selected Good Tidings as a beneficiary for our 20th, but our hope is to encourage philanthropy at a personal level. In the past we have celebrated anniversary events in support of Keep a Child Alive, Shine on Sierra Leone and Bono’s Project Red. All were a financial success for the beneficiaries.


DR Industry Pioneer Don Potter Releases Pair of Novels

ENCINO, Calif. — Ad veteran and former Response Advisory Board member Don Potter has drawn upon his years of experience to deliver a pair of hard-hitting suspense novels: “The Adman” and “Murder on Madison Avenue.” Both are receiving rave reviews from the general public as well as advertising insiders.

In “The Adman,” hotshot ad executive Ben Norris fights to achieve his dreams in a make-believe world of shifting values accented by deceit, blackmail and murder. With each battle he wins, Ben loses a little more control of his life. In “Murder on Madison Avenue,” someone is killing ad agency people and using famous advertising slogans as his calling card. A young detective must decipher the clues left by the killer and avert a grand finale on the night the world celebrates the arrival of the new millennium.

Both books are now available on Amazon and all other E-book sites.

More Honors for Hearthware Inc., Hampton Direct

TUSTIN, Calif. — Hearthware Inc., the reigning Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) Marketer of the Year, added more award hardware to its resume recently when its show for the Nu-Wave Oven Pro was named Infomercial of the Year in the 2012 Greensheet Awards for Infomercial and Short-Form Excellence from Jordan Whitney.

DRMA Marketer of the Year finalist Hampton Direct was also honored by the Greensheet Awards, earning Best Short-Form Production of the Year for its Furniture Fix spot. The Greensheet Awards were culled from more than 400 new infomercials and 500 new short-form spots in 2011. For a full list of winners, visit

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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