Eric Rabinowitz—author, entrepreneur, trainer, and CEO of Nurture Marketing—joined VFI’s Advisory Task Force earlier this year. Though Eric is new to the ATF, he’s been an engaged VFI advocate for many years, traveling to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers on several occasions.
We recently connected with Eric to hear about how his success as a business leader has translated into effective advocacy.
VFI: Most VFI leaders work at tech companies, but you own a marketing company. Tell us about your professional background.
Eric: I’ve been a serial entrepreneur since I started as a paperboy delivering the New York Post at the age of 8. I’ve founded several companies, but I also studied computer science and programming. Early in my career, I worked for Citibank, programming for their International Services Division’s HP 3000 minicomputer. I later led a large development team for an investment bank on Wall Street.
VFI: But your career eventually moved in a new direction. How did that happen?
Eric: In 1993, I met my mentor, Jim Cecil, and he introduced me to the concept of nurture marketing. Jim lived in Bellevue when Microsoft was growing rapidly in the 1980s, and he developed nurture marketing working with Microsoft. I participated in one of Jim’s weeklong bootcamps, and he introduced me to the Microsoft partner channel. I ended up creating a Microsoft partner roundtable marketing group in New York with Irma Austin, who was a top Microsoft PAM [Partner Account Manager]. I also met Erik Frantzen the future President of Nurture Marketing around this time. Eventually, I sold my stake in a technical support and help desk staffing company and joined Jim.
VFI: So, what is “nurture marketing” in a nutshell?
Eric: Deposits before withdrawals. You deeply understand your clients and provide them with what they need on their buyer’s journey. You don’t ask for anything in return. You create a strong relationship and provide very targeted information. Then a client will come to you. Jim learned this from his father who was a tractor and farm equipment salesman in Kentucky.
VFI: Does this apply to being a policy advocate and leader with VFI?
Eric: VFI fits right in my wheelhouse. I’m honored to be part of VFI’s Advisory Task Force. From nurture marketing, I understand the importance of building relationships with government officials over time. I’ve also been called the ultimate “Yes” man. I never shy away from volunteering. I like to volunteer and get things done. I’ve been President of the IAMCP New Jersey and President of the East Brunswick Jewish Center.
VFI: Tell us about some of your experiences on Capitol Hill.
Eric: I’ve had several successful meetings. For the first time in my life, when I visited Congress, I felt like I could make a difference on a national basis. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman co-sponsored the LEADS Act [digital privacy legislation] because of our meeting. I’m keeping after Senator Bob Menendez’s office. I’ve been back three times.
VFI: You’ve also met Senator Cory Booker?
Eric: When I think of Cory Booker, I am optimistic. He came and spoke at my synagogue, and I spent a half-hour with him one-on-one. He is very impressive. He is engaged and curious—and he is an amazing speaker. It is energizing to make a personal connection with someone who is making a difference for our country. I am right of center, but Cory Booker would have my vote in a second.
VFI: Thank you for sharing that. These are challenging times. How are you coping with COVID?
Eric: Fortunately, Nurture Marketing has been able to sustain our business. We’ve continued to hire and did not apply for PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] support.
VFI: It’s been great talking with you. Thank you for everything you’re doing.
Eric: Thank you. I look forward to helping out VFI.