Live from ACCM: DMA's Greco Kicks Off 25th ACCM; Focuses on Keeping Channels Open
May 20, 2008 — Direct Marketing Association (DMA) President & CEO John A. Greco, Jr. today welcomed attendees to the 25th Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants (ACCM). The conference, which is being held at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL, runs through May 22.
“This is the 25th year for this conference,” Greco said, “and people tell me they keep coming back because this is the place they get the best ideas for increasing ROI, year after year.”
Greco pointed out that, in today’s marketplace, the Internet and mobile services have fundamentally changed the marketing game in many ways, especially for players in the catalog and mulitchannel space. “Multichannel merchandisers and catalogers understand that different channels feed off of each other,” he told ACCM conferees. “Mail allows all the channels, including the Internet, to work together in an interdependent way.”
Greco went on to say that there are some important challenges and even threats facing marketers today, particular for those in the catalog industry. The threat, he explained, includes “environmental concerns about trees and climate change, privacy issues, and business opportunities envisioned by third-party list generators who want to get in between catalogs and their customers.”
However, Greco pointed out, DMA is doing a great deal of work to keep the multichannel marketplace open. “We have an aggressive self-regulatory agenda for all direct marketing channels. But let’s talk specifically for a moment about mail, because that’s where the threats are most immediate. And for catalogs, the attack is already underway.”
Do Not Mail Legislation Threatens Catalogs
This year, Greco pointed out, 14 Do Not Mail bills were introduced in 11 states. “We have aggressive plans to make self-regulation work for us in convincing everyone that no one needs a Do Not Mail law.” Over the past few years, DMA has updated and enhanced its guidelines, standards, and best practices,” he explained. “We strongly believe that by being responsible in all consumer dealings, within a good, self-regulated direct marketing environment, we can continue to defuse support for Do Not Mail legislation.”
Greco said one of DMA’s key initiatives, the Mail Moves America Coalition, was developed “to take our story where it needs to be told, with the resources and longevity to outlast the proponents of Do Not Mail.”
“Because it is so important that we withstand the threat posed by Do Not Mail over the long term, we have a wonderful plan in place to reach out to legislators, consumers, and the press,” Greco continued. “At the heart of it is our conviction that consumers deserve choices.”
Specifically, Greco explained that DMA’s Mail Preference Service (MPS) has been updated and enhanced to give consumers more choice in opting out — and opting in — of advertising mail and catalogs they receive.
The new program, called DMAChoice, Greco said, is all about relevance, offering consumers “the most effective and secure way for them to only receive the mail they want, and to express their preferences for mailings they do not want.” The new DMAChoice, Greco explained, allows consumers to opt out — free of charge — online from the mailing lists of individual brands and catalogs they no longer want to receive, and also to select the catalogs they do wish to receive.
Self-Regulation Is the ‘Key to Ensuring the Future’
Greco emphasized that self-regulation is the key to ensuring the future and keeping all channels open and economically viable. “When imposed through laws or regulations, business requirements and restrictions are almost always one-size-fits-all,” Greco said. “So we need self-regulation that is not only flexible but also effective — and widely recognized as such by both the public and the public policy makers.”
Being part of a larger community can be a great advantage, Greco explained. “As a larger federation made up of many different channels, media, niches, and specialties, DMA is a ‘big tent.’ But all inside the tent share in a common process we define as multichannel direct marketing.” “Our challenge as an Association,” he continued, “is to balance the ‘state’s rights’ of our different member communities, like this one, with the overarching goals of the entire union.”
Greco went on to say that DMA is working closely with the catalog segment and all of its members on environmental issues. “We recognize that making environmentally responsible decisions is increasingly important from a social, economic, and ethical perspective.”
“DMA's environmental action program — our Green 15 — underscores our commitment to helping marketers understand and apply environmental considerations throughout the direct marketing process,” Greco said.”
Greco concluded by stressing once again the importance of a unified voice for marketers. “Only if we preserve and increase our strength of unity under the big tent can we do what it will take to help protect everyone on issues from sales tax to privacy to the state-by-state challenges of Do Not Mail.”
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