MB: How much does not being in New York affect you?
Bushell: When I'm hiring, I have a much smaller pool to choose from. My hope is to get someone here who has the work ethic, and the smarts and the intuition to know what the numbers mean. I can teach them everything else. It's also more difficult to stay abreast of all the new information. We can't just take a lunch break and go to a seminar. You have to hop on a plane, and stay at a hotel and then go to the seminar.
MB: Have webinars helped change that?
Bushell: They are helpful but it's not really the same. You can't talk to the person sitting next to you about what her or his company is doing. That's where the real information usually comes from.
MB: How hard is it to pin down how people want to be reached?
Bushell: When you come down to it, it's constant testing. It's taking each one of your sources and figuring out whether another source can do better than the last one did. We break everything down—from direct mail and wraps to telemarketing and e-mail and fax—and then we flip-flop so we try all of them. It's an ongoing process. If this person did telemarketing last year, does e-mail work better, does fax work better? You just keep trying, and you learn what different people like. You have to have a good understanding of your file and its segmenting. One group will respond a lot differently from another.