MA hunts for a new chief as McCarty gets set for a change

After around six years at the helm of the NZ Marketing Association, and with a number of big accomplishments under her belt, chief executive Sue McCarty has announced her resignation. 

As yet, McCarty doesn’t have a new role to go to, but she is hoping to move back to the corporate world. 

When asked about the MA’s major achievements during her tenure, she cites the significant growth in overall membership, the unique agreement with the UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the improved performance and stature of the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards, the creation of the Data Warranty Register and the MA’s recognition as ‘best in class’ with a win in the AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards late last year as standouts. 

McCarty arrived after The Direct Marketing Association was transformed into the Marketing Association. And she says she’s grateful that those original member organisations came along for the ride and saw the vision she and the team had for the industry body. Others obviously have too, because since the rebranding and re-positioning of the MA at the beginning of 2011, there has been a 44 percent increase in membership (and an 80 percent increase in engagements per member contact on its database) and the number of member contacts also increased 28 percent over the same time period. The MA also recently delivered a significant over-budget financial result. 

One of McCarty’s main objectives was to further professionalise the marketing industry and give it more gravitas in the wider business community, and the unique agreement it struck up with the CIM is testament to that. Rather than setting up the organisation in New Zealand as it does in other markets and compete with the MA to attract participants, McCarty says she offered it access to this market and effectively licensed the qualification. And it’s been popular: in the last two years it has accredited over 400 New Zealand marketers, of which 67 are fellows. 

Related to this goal of professionalisation, she says the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards have improved dramatically since the MA joined forces with Tangible Media, publisher of NZ Marketing and StopPress. Entries have increased 52 percent in the past three years, a number of new categories have been added and the event draws over 700 people, including more and more from the top table. 

At a time when data security is increasingly coming under the spotlight and also becoming increasingly important for marketers, McCarty says she is also very proud of the creation of The Data Warranty Register, a self-regulated system developed to provide consumers with the confidence that organisations carrying the DWR Trustmark will treat their personal information with respect and absolute privacy, in accordance with best practice standards and New Zealand law.

Organisations managing their own customer database, organisations making their consumer database available for rent or sale
and data enrichment service providers and data providers trading in the New Zealand marketplace—basically all businesses collecting, storing and using personal data for marketing purposes, whether
B2C or B2B—have been encouraged to apply for the Trustmark, and so far 24 have been accredited.

McCarty says she’s tendered her resignation with mixed emotions and she certainly hasn’t lost any of the passion and enthusiasm for the marketing sector, profession or community, “but there comes a time where you have to draw a line in the sand and say ‘I’ve done what I came here to do, now what’s next for me?’”.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to the wonderful people I have been lucky enough to work with over the past six years and who have contributed to the unprecedented successes we have enjoyed through an incredibly tough time economically for New Zealand. You can all take a bow. What a ride and what an achievement.”

Board chairman Debra Hall said McCarty’s move has been signaled for some time and is unlikely to cause any major disruption to the organisation. 

“Both the board and management team are confident that together we can build on the past six years’ success. The board celebrates what Sue and the MA team have achieved, with significant increases in membership, member engagement and growth in the range of services, events and educational offerings to cover the full breadth of marketing. We have indeed come a very long way since the old DMA days. The board supports Sue in her decision to move on with seeking her next career challenge.”

McCarty will remain at her post until the end of March, with a farewell celebration of her contribution to the organisation and industry scheduled for the AGM on 27 March.

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