Tuesday, January 8, 2013

10 Questions with Rob d'Errico of Mad MultiMedia


By Richard Oceguera

Subject: Rob D’Errico, President
Name of Business: MAD MultiMedia
Helping People Since: 2009
Number of Employees: 3
Location: 70 West 86th Street, NY, NY 10024

What is the MAD MultiMedia and what services do you offer?

It started off as a traditional printing company. But with social media and email, we had to morph beyond ink on paper. We interact with large companies with consumer bases. We focus on what call the “Big 5”: Facebook, Twitter, email, text messaging and the web. We assist our clients by combining the Big 5 into a personalized campaign for the 140 character society. Today people are being hit from so many different angles that the attention span is so short. So when you make your message more personalized to a consumer you get their attention and keep them engaged. But, believe it or not, print (direct mail) still has a higher rate of return than new media so we keep that as a capability. People still love to get mail.

In your role as president, what are you responsible for?

New business development and engaging clients that I feel MAD can assist with their personalized marketing campaigns. Finding companies that will be a good fit for us and that we can help.

Rob d'Errico at the NGLCC National Dinner in Washington, D.C.
You are top notch sales pro. What’s been your greatest challenge and how did you surmount it?

My greatest challenge is getting through to the decision makers in the supplier diversity space. People in supplier diversity are getting hit by certified business owners from NGLCC, WBENC, NMSDC and other organizations. So I have to make myself unique. I need to be as creative as possible to work my way through these companies. I do things the old fashioned way. For example, I will request an in person meeting no matter where they are in the country. I’ve flown to California just for a 30 minute meeting and returned back to the East Coast the same day. I build personal relationships and this gets people to respond to me when I contact them. And I make it a point to be at every conference to check in on my contacts. Now these people know me by name. Here’s another example. There’s one contact that I was just not getting through to. Zero traction. Everybody knows about Twinkies and Hostess going out of business, right? So I went on eBay on bought a box of Twinkies for $25 and sent it to this prospect. I put a simple card on the box saying, “Even though Twinkies are going extinct we are not because we can make your marketing campaign new and offer new ideas.” This person called me and now I have an in-person meeting in January! It just comes down to the old fashioned way of doing business.

You have an extensive background working in the cross media marketing industry. What is it about this work that calls to you?

It’s always different and always evolving. I’ve had one particular client for 15 years and every year it is different! It’s constantly changing. I love the new technology that comes out. When I started in the business you put a person’s name and address on a card and dropped it in the mail. Now you can have links to Facebook, QR Codes and four color variable imaging. There are so many options to personalize a company’s campaigns based on their needs.

You serve as a volunteer on the NGLCCNY Supplier Diversity Committee, on the board of CABO and other organizations, why is it important for you to be so involved?

I’m 45 years old and I’ve never been able to give back to my community. Once I became involved with the LGBT chambers I said, “this is it!” There is nothing more rewarding for me than to help LGBT owned business learn about the advantages of getting certified. I love introducing business owners to supplier diversity contacts. In New York I work with LGBT owned business and try to connect them to corporations. And in Connecticut I do the opposite. I work with major corporations and try to introduce them to LGBT owned businesses.

Rob d'Errico, center, at an M3: Members' Monthly Mixer in 2012.

MAD is a founding member of NGLCCNY and has been a huge supporter of our work. What value does the company get from being a member?

I can sum that up in two words: unlimited opportunities! Honestly Richard, that’s what it is. If you are an LGBT owned business and you are certified you have incredible access to major corporations. You have to find the companies that are a right fit for your business. You just have to give it time and keep plugging away it. On a personal note, I met Maurice Danielson, owner of MAD, at an NGLCCNY supplier diversity event two years ago at Pfizer. At the time we were competitors and over time I saw the value of working for a certified LGBT owned company. Eventually I went to work Maurice and the rest is history.

How has the NGLCC certification helped MAD create new opportunities?

By being able to contact major corporations that are actively looking to do business with LGBT owned businesses. We have gotten work and access to lots of RFPs that we would not have been offered if we were not an LGBTE (LGBT Business Enterprise). There are eight companies that have given us RFPs because we are certified members of NGLCCNY.

You served two years as GOP House of Representatives Floor Clerk at the Connecticut General Assembly. Did you aspire to be in politics?

I was and still am a Republican. I never really wanted to be a politician but I enjoyed very much working for politicians. In the mid 1990’s I worked on a presidential campaign and I very much enjoyed it. They knew about my sexual orientation and were fine with it so it made it easy for me. But I did leave this world because I am not beholden to one political party. There are politicians in both parties that I support so it was impossible for me to stay in this line of work. In fact, recently, I was the first person in my town to have an Obama lawn sign. And, with what happened in Newtown, if the Republican party doesn’t do something about gun control I will leave the party. That was worse than 9/11 for me. I will never look at a child the same way again.

How do you keep your saw sharp?

From Sunday night to Friday afternoon I have my game face on. I try to take Saturdays completely off and get my mind out of work. I’m a very Type A person so I like to walk my dogs a lot. They are Basset Hounds and move slowly. They make me slow down and unwind. And sometimes I literally have to leave the country and take a vacation. I’ll still work but it keeps me sharp. My husband Will hates this but I am energized by getting out of town. Believe it or not, another thing that keeps me sharp is Maurice Danielson. He keeps me on my toes and pushes me, constantly follows up with me. He always has very good suggestions and ideas.

Dogs or Cats?

I love dogs. And before I met my husband I hated cats. But Will had two cats when we met so I’ve learned to love them. Granted, you can’t put a 70lb Basset Hound on your lap like a cat!

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Richard Oceguera is CEO of Merchant Mart USA and the founding President of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce New York. He’s an Entrepreneur, Visionary Community Leader and Media Personality. Follow him at www.RichardOceguera.com and @RichardOceguera on Twitter.

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