New York-based media software solutions provider CoreMedia Systems reached its 25th anniversary in 2017. To celebrate, CEO Glenn DeKraker’s team is once again hosting a special concert to benefit the Good Tidings Foundation. The event is slated for Jan. 18, 2018 at New York’s Gotham Hall.
Recently, Response caught up with DeKraker to talk about the anniversary, the benefit event, and more.
Q: What was the most memorable moment of CoreMedia Services’ first 25 years?
Glenn DeKraker: Certainly, the most memorable — and daunting — moment was the pivot CoreMedia made when moving out of the general advertising agency software space — where the sole measurement was audience data — and into direct response television.
Until 1996, we had focused all of our efforts on general agency back-office automation and counted among our initial clients Grey, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Leo Burnett, and Tatham Euro RSCG. In 1997, we were awarded a project for a ground-up re-write for Chicago-based Eicoff and its proprietary direct response software.
What was immediately apparent was that to be successful, we needed to choose between developing software for general agencies or DRTV shops. I’m sure there are a number of software companies that will read this and disagree. However, we chose to commit to a very narrow space focused solely on product and brand-response buying, attribution, analytics, and media management.
It was a huge shift for us, both technically and culturally. Our early response attribution models were rudimentary but worked well for clients that drove their responses to unique phone numbers. Over the years, our clients have become much more sophisticated and the attribution models in our application have grown exponentially, enabling our clients to plan, buy, measure, and reconcile media efficiently.
Q: What has been the biggest surprise during CoreMedia’s history?
DeKraker: The biggest surprise to everyone but us? There have been far too many advertisers that have made mistakes in having their agency “move our entire media budget to digital.” Predictably — and after a very short time with diminished responses — we often hear, “How quickly can I be back on TV?”
Q: CoreMedia has long supported the Good Tidings Foundation. What is it about the work it does that draws your interest and support?
DeKraker: My personal involvement with Good Tidings goes back more than 20 years. I was managing a charitable trust for my family and received a mailer solicitation from Good Tidings. Its mission mirrors ours.
Good Tidings founder Larry Harper is extraordinary. By the age of 30, he’d become director of scouting for the San Francisco Giants and had a World Series ring. Extensive travel, as well as a seven-month players’ strike, forced him to reconsider his future. He left the Giants and, with his wife Ronnie, stepped into the world of philanthropy. A chance meeting with LeRoy Neiman turned into an extraordinary partnership that resulted in building LeRoy Neiman Art Studios together.
Larry also used his friendships with ballplayers who he had scouted to build out inner-city athletic projects. Dozens of athletes added their influence to Good Tidings, including Jimmy Rollins, C.C. Sabathia, Barry and Bobby Bonds, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Dennis Eckersley.
Today, Good Tidings has granted in excess of $1.4 million in scholarships to deserving high school seniors. It has built more than 175 athletic facilities with the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, San Francisco 49ers, San Joe Sharks, and Sacramento Kings, as well as nine LeRoy Neiman Art Studios in the San Francisco Bay Area, Phoenix, Chicago’s South Side, Minneapolis, and New York City.
Q: To celebrate the anniversary, you’re hosting a benefit event in New York next month for Good Tidings. What’s on the agenda?
DeKraker: CoreMedia ties key anniversary dates together with fundraising for a variety of charitable organizations. In 2012, we celebrated our 20th anniversary at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan with O.A.R. as our musical guest. More than 1,000 advertisers, ad agencies, networks, media vendors, family, and friends attended by special invitation. At the end of the evening, we were thrilled to hand a $256,000 check to the Good Tidings Foundation.
On January 18, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary with a benefit that again supports the Good Tidings Foundation. I knew shortly after our 2012 event that very little would have to change to ensure a successful outcome: an incredible venue; a deserving charity; on-going support from clients, vendors, and friends; and musical guests Marc Roberge, Jon Lampley, and Mikel Paris of O.A.R.
Putting together this event has been a multi-year project. My daughter and I stopped by the unique and beautiful Gotham Hall on Broadway in Manhattan in late 2014 to begin the process of choosing a venue for our benefit. Her first reaction was “Do we really need to look any further?”
Q: Giving back is clearly a theme at CoreMedia. Why is it so important to you?
DeKraker: A friend of mine sent me this quote: “We are an industry of entrepreneurs. Giving back is among the most important and valuable things an entrepreneur can do. Period.”
With this in mind, several years ago CoreMedia formed ResponseResponsibility as a way of unifying the DRTV industry around charitable work. So many of our clients have philanthropic ties to community-based work with children. For them, and for us, giving back is where you give without any benefit or recognition.
The progress and success behind Good Tidings assures me that our latest benefit under the auspices of ResponseResponsibility will continue the organization’s extraordinary work.
Tom Turner of Active Intl.’s ActiveCares has been on board as a key sponsor in 2007, 2012, and now our 2018 benefit. In addition, a few of our clients and partners who have been instrumental with their on-going support are: Bob Schindele of ICON Intl.; Wendy Arnon, president of Pathway/Omnicom Media Group; Joe Shain, Allscope Direct’s CEO; Vic Golio, president, and Scott Paternoster, founder and CEO, of Chief Media; Nancy Lazkani, founder and CEO of Icon Media Direct; and Eric Mathewson, WideOrbit’s founder and CEO.
For more information on the Good Tidings Foundation and ResponseResponsibility, visit GoodTidings.org or ResponseResponsibility.org — or contact: Glenn DeKraker at (973) 276-0882, ext. 314 or [email protected] or Laura Verson at 650-239-9213 or [email protected]. For sponsorship opportunities for the event, contact CoreMedia’s Jessica Renaldo at (973) 276-0882, ext. 323, or [email protected].