Oct 17 2006

Winds of Change at the DMA

Winds of Change at the DMA

I’ve been an active member of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) for almost seven years now.  It’s kind of the Mac Daddy of trade associations in and around our business.  The DMA has taken its lumps of late, mostly deservedly so, and I think made some terrible moves, misjudgments, and decisions a few years back.

But I’ve continued to be an active member, mostly convinced by new DMA CEO John Greco and COO Ramesh Ratan that there was a new sheriff in town who was going to restore peace and order to the village.  John and Ramesh have a deep understanding and deeply held convictions about consumer experience and permission — and about the centrality of interactive marketing to direct marketing, and to marketing departments in general.

And they’re starting to make lots of changes at the DMA, from who is on the staff, to the staff’s mindset, to their goals, budgets, and plans — all to the benefit of interactive marketers.

One thing they’ve done is revitalized the Interactive Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB), which we created after AIM was dissolved last year, of which I’m the Chairman.  The IMAB has a star-studded list of member companies and individuals (see coverage in DMNews here) and is working diligently and in great partnership with the senior staff of the DMA to really bring interactive marketing principles to the core of the DMA’s offerings and ethos.  We still have a long way to go, as you probably noticed at this week’s DMA 06 show in San Francisco (great interactive programming, very weak interactive trade show floor and critical mass of key attendees), but I think the IMAB initiative has us off to a great start.

Stay tuned for more developments on this front over the coming weeks.