The death of Derek Holder is sad news for the direct marketing industry. His vision, drive, persuasiveness and determination helped bring the direct marketing industry into the light. What the IDM did in terms of education, standards and career development for innumerable people at the forefront of measured marketing cannot be overstated. The IDM, tucked away in Teddington, trained most of the people who practice the disciplines of customer engagement, imparting rigour and best practice.
I met Derek a dozen years ago. I had already spent half a dozen years building digital agencies with very bright people, and I wanted to start proving that digital had a genuine place in the marketing mix. I was invited to be a guest presenter on an IDM course. What I learned while I was there led to a fascination with measurability and accountability, and this in turn led to me founding the first eCRM agency, Underwired. Derek encouraged my thinking, and gave me the freedom to teach at the IDM, running one day courses (including the current Practical eCRM masterclasses). I owe Derek a lot.
I once went on a speaking tour of various cities in the north of England. Derek presided, and along with Joanna King we set off in Derek’s green Jaguar. That tour was marked by two things: awful weather and flooded towns, and Derek’s tirelessness – undercut by a propensity to fall asleep at the most inopportune moments. We had a great time, spreading the word about how to do direct and digital to the very highest standards, driven by Derek’s passion for the industry. We’ll all miss him.