Access SupERAchiever - Fern Lee

Those in the direct response industry know all too well that networking helps create the vital business partnerships that can help nurture a company’s clientele list. ERA tries to facilitate these valuable partnerships through its attribute, Access2.

Industry pioneer Fern Lee, along with her company THOR Associates, understands firsthand how important it is to be linked with an organization that supports members’ interests and does so by opening the doors to new networking opportunities and prospective business.

THOR Associates is a direct response consulting agency that focuses on creating ROI by addressing all facets of a marketing campaign, including DRTV, DR radio, television production, print, as well as the integration of traditional/digital initiatives.

ERA spoke one-on-one with Lee, CEO and founder at THOR Associates, to learn how she’s benefited from being a longstanding ERA member and how she has leveraged Access2 to grow her start-up business.

The Challenge

As one of the founding members of the association, then known as NIMA, Lee has been an active participant and supporter since day one. She first joined ERA through her role at Hammond Companies and continued her involvement as a Board member when she ran Gaiam’s direct-response initiatives. Five years ago, Lee launched her own company called THOR Associates, creating transactional marketing strategies for D2C and branding initiatives.

The challenge for Lee at the time was that she had a small agency. Thus, she thought to herself: “How do I play against the big boys? How do I get my fair share and compete with different marketing companies?”

The Solution

Lee admits that as a young company, she could have postponed joining the association under THOR Associates, yet she knew being affiliated with ERA gave her the type of exposure that new companies needed.

“I could have said, ‘I’ll wait a year or two before joining; I’ll just be a non-member.’ But I really believed in ERA, and I wanted to give back and be a part of it,” she recalls.

With more than 25 years’ experience, Lee was already a well-known leader in the direct response industry and among the ERA membership. Most of that has been due to her volunteerism with: the Executive Board Membership Committee, Finance Committee, conferences and special events. What’s more, she has mentored fellow members throughout the years.

When Lee was elected to the Board of Directors, she garnered even more access to the organization’s resources and involved her with other noteworthy industry stakeholders. What’s more, Lee says ERA’s Great Ideas Summit and D2C Convention, as well as its quarterly networking receptions have served as a home base where she can bring her clients and directly connect them with vendors/suppliers. These events have also given her the opportunity to meet new people and expand her client list.

The Result

Today, Lee has alleviated any concerns she once harbored when making the transition from a large DR company to a boutique agency. Her ability to leverage ERA’s many networking opportunities through conferences and receptions, as well as through her active involvement in the association, has paid off considerably.

As Lee explains, “Being an ERA member has given me access to colleagues and peers, allowing for my own as well as THOR’s growth both professionally and personally.”