executive perspectives: Making Magic
It's hard to disassociate 1960s advertising from AMC's hit series "Mad Men." But long before Don Draper hit the scene, Darrin Stephens and the cast of "Bewitched" worked their magic on television viewers across the country. For Douglas Ritter, president of Dallas-based marketing solutions firm USFI, the show was more than just a source of casual entertainment—it was the spark that ignited his professional future.
"I grew up in an era where one of the most popular TV shows was "Bewitched." [...] That was my first exposure to the business of advertising," Ritter recalled. "I enjoyed the sitcom and the thrill of coming up with ideas on how to sell products. I wanted to be the man in that show."
Unlike Stephens, Ritter didn't have a "good witch" at his side to bring on instant success. After graduate school—and a fruitless job search—he took a friend's advice and accepted a job in advertising sales at the suburban Yellow Pages in Minneapolis. Ritter stayed there for a year, hitting 125 percent of his quota for the first nine months, before he landed a job at a small agency in St. Paul. Just one year later, he got his big "Bewitched break" on Madison Avenue at BBDO, one of the largest ad agencies in the world.
"I entered their account training program as an assistant account executive," Ritter said. "From there it's been a steady succession of ad agencies, large and small, in New York City and finally to Dallas—and USFI—where I was promoted to president two years ago."
Read on as Ritter talks business and shares his thoughts on the industry.
Print+Promo (P+P): How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
Douglas Ritter (DR): I am very goal oriented. When I set a goal, I usually accomplish it. I have a five-year plan for both myself and the company. I check it regularly to make sure I am on track and accomplishing everything I have set out to do. I am a great believer in writing it down and making goal-setting formal. I also write our company business plan annually, and the goals are there as well—typically regarding revenue, profitability and strategy.