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New director seeks to bolster AIM

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Kevin Noonan took over last month as director of the Association for Interactive Marketing, a division of the Direct Marketing Association. He has more than 12 years of media, Internet and sales experience, most recently as group VP-Internet and media research at The Yankee Group. Before that he held various sales positions at companies including @Plan Inc. and Bell Canada Enterprises.

BtoB recently asked Noonan about the state of the industry and his objectives for AIM.

BtoB: What are some of your goals for the organization in the first six months?

Noonan: We’d like to grow the membership by articulating to brand marketers and advertisers what’s in it for them. I’d like our membership to be more involved in all our councils, including the CRE (Council for Responsible E-mail). I’d like to see someone like Office Max in our membership. We can bring them the kind of information and vendor relationships they need.

BtoB: What are some of the biggest challenges in interactive marketing?

Noonan: One of our biggest challenges will be to help b-to-b marketers leverage the cost savings, visibility and acquisition benefits of using interactive marketing. While 58% of b-to-b companies who conduct e-commerce transactions report that they make a profit, only 20% of b-to-b direct marketers can conduct financial transactions online.

One of the major initiatives, if not the major initiative, interactive marketers must tackle is to control the growth of spam before it paralyzes the nation’s already vulnerable Internet economy. AIM’s Council For Responsible E-Mail worked with the DMA to establish strict e-mail marketing guidelines to help identify legitimate commercial e-mail. AIM will continue to lend support and work closely with the DMA in its mission to "can" spam.

BtoB: How will AIM work with the DMA to realize its goals?

Noonan: The DMA’s members are the best marketers in the world. I’d like them on my roster. P&G [Procter & Gamble] needs to be a member of AIM because they can learn a lot from what our membership is doing. The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has been more concerned with the media side of the business and the publishing side of the business. I want brand marketers on board.

BtoB: You bring more than 12 years of media, Internet and e-commerce experience. How will that serve you at AIM?

Noonan: I think I was hired because I have a sales background and a research background. I see my role as one of service to our membership. The bottom line is to help them with their bottom lines, to help them improve their businesses.

BtoB: You talk about the need for a brand marketing focus. It sounds similar to the IAB’s mantra. What distinguishes you from the IAB’s purpose and mission?

Noonan: Healthy competition is great, but I don’t want it to confuse the constituency. Most of our members gain a lot more value from what we do. We’re a lot more active than the IAB in terms of our membership. We’re not just an umbrella organization.

While other associations have developed to include education and research, AIM’s mission, since 1993, has been focused on increasing interactive marketing opportunities. We have the ability to offer our members access to DMA resources, information, networking and educational opportunities, as well as government affairs representation. This relationship keeps AIM members close to the pulse of direct marketing, which is critical to interactive marketing.

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