John A. Greco Jr., a veteran marketing executive with a strong background in technology, will take over as president-CEO of the Direct Marketing Association on Aug. 16. He succeeds H. Robert Wientzen, who in December announced that he planned to retire after more than seven years at the helm of the DMA.
Greco has 30 years of marketing and association experience. Most recently, he spent a year running Greco Enterprises, a family holding company. Before that, he was president-CEO of the Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association for three years. An engineer by training, he has also held senior marketing positions at AT&T Corp. and R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.
Greco said he is confident his experience has prepared him well for his new job, and the association experience certainly works to his advantage.
"My background has prepared me almost at every step of the way for this new role," Greco said in an interview. "I canât think of anything in my background that I will not leverage."
Greco said his work at the Yellow Pages group would be especially helpful. "There are so many analogies and synergies there," he said. "Bob Wientzen and I traveled in many of the same circles, like the Ad Council board."
Major public policy issues and recent legislative challenges to the marketing community have led various business associations to work together.
"Itâs all the same issues," Greco said. "Itâs all about which end of the marketing mix youâre looking at; but you have to have knowledge about all aspects of the marketing world."
Greco added that he has good relationships with other marketing and media organizations, including the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. "Those are important relationships to maintain and carry forward," he said.
Greco said his first priority will be to gain an understanding of the issues facing the DMAâs diverse constituencies. "The key is we need to start with a clear understanding in each segment of where we are today with each of the constituencies," he said. "I will monitor that so that every member in every segment will feel theyâre receiving the value they should and is able to take advantage of all the services the DMA has available."
The major issues Greco said he expects to address include Internet taxation, spam and telemarketing practices. Emerging technology will also be key, he said.
"Technology is important in all segments and particularly in the b-to-b segment because you have the additional dimensions of networking and bandwidth capability," he said.
Greco said association management requires the ability to balance a number of different issues for various stakeholders and build consensus. "My experience and leadership give me the ability to build constituencies and connect the dots."
DMA members applauded the selection of Greco, saying his experience provides a significant advantage.
"I was pleased to see he has a background in both b-to-b and b-to-c," said Bernice Grossman, president of direct marketing agency DMRS Group and a member of the DMAâs Business-to-Business Council. "I think heâs got some balance, and heâll certainly be able to understand the issues."
A marketer member concurred. "Itâs always good to see someone who takes a position like that who has a deep level of experience on the client side rather than a mover and a shaker strictly within the industry on the vendor side," said David Hughes, manager of database marketing at Canon USA and a member of the B-to-B Council. "He has a balance of different kinds of experience. When people have a perspective of the customer side of the equation, itâs a whole different perception."