Alan Rimm-Kaufman, founder of online marketing consultancy The Rimm-Kaufman Group, died July 18 from leukemia at the age of 41. Senior writer Tim Parry spoke to several of Rimm-Kaufman’s colleagues, who remembered his fierce intelligence, curiosity and kindness.
Austin Bliss remembers the first time he met Alan Rimm-Kaufman in a crowded bar. Rimm-Kaufman Group sat down with Bliss, founder/president of e-mail marketing firm FreshAddress, for more than two hours, and peppered Bliss with questions about his business.
“Alan was a patient listener, a brilliant thinker and an inspiring public speaker,” Bliss says about Rimm-Kaufman. “We have lost a gem of the business world. He was truly an incredible guy, and I will miss him.”
Those who worked alongside of and with Rimm-Kaufman remembered the search-marketing guru not only for his attentiveness, but for his brilliance and wit.
Rimm-Kaufman was a frequent speaker at industry tradeshows and conferences, and was a judge for Multichannel Merchant’s annual MCM Awards. Before founding his own company in 2003, he was vice president of marketing for electronics merchant Crutchfield.
John Lenser, founder of the catalog consultancy Lenser, notes that when search engine marketing was just a buzz phrase, Rimm-Kaufman had developed a state-of-the-art software program at Crutchfield that managed over 10,000 terms based on return on investment.
“Alan was one of the most brilliant direct marketing leaders in the industry,” Lenser says. “He was able to integrate the academic, cutting-edge intellect with practical applications.”
Lenser first knew Rimm-Kaufman as a client when he was at Crutchfield, then as an affiliate service provider for Lenser’s clients when he began The Rimm-Kaufman Group. “We will all miss his wit, kindness and the sheer pleasure of his company,” Lenser says.
Jim Harkins, the vice president of marketing for gift catalogs Solutions and Gold Violin, first struck up a friendship with Rimm-Kaufman after the two met through industry group NEMOA. Harkins eventually brought Rimm-Kaufman Group in to work on the Solutions Website.
“Alan was both a visionary entrepreneur and a remarkably humble and approachable gentleman, in spite of his absolute genius,” Harkins says. “I will miss Alan on both a personal and business basis. His innovation, as well as his sense of humor, will be missed in the industry.”