'Survive and Thrive' - DMA President and CEO John A. Greco, Jr. Presents Outlook for 2009
January 14, 2009 — DMA President and CEO John A. Greco, Jr. sent a message yesterday to DMA membership, in which he presented an outlook for 2009. The full text of the letter follows below.
Dear DMA Member:
As a New Year starts to take shape, everyone knows that the challenges we'll face in 2009 will in many ways be more daunting than anything we've seen in years. Around the world, practically every business is intensely focused on trying to survive, and many are cutting costs rapidly and aggressively in response to a spiral of global events. Today we have a little more clarity about all that's going on - but not much. The outlook is that the economy will certainly recover, but at this point, no one can be sure when or exactly how that will happen, nor can we know the extent of the recovery or expect things to snap back to yesterday's norms.
So while no one can afford to ignore the considerable perils we face at this uncertain juncture, I believe there are clear pockets of opportunity amid all the challenges, "sweet spots" in a tough economy. The emerging business process I refer to as "marketing directly" is without doubt one of the most universal of these sweet spots, offering every type of business the tools and techniques they need to help them survive the immediate downturn, as well as to constantly uncover new ways to thrive - as business and nonprofits adjust and fine-tune their relationships with customers, donors and prospects in light of the realities of a changing global economic environment.
In this sense, the direct marketing community can and will play a major role in restoring order in the global economy. In good times as well as bad, direct marketing driven transactions make up a very large slice of US gross domestic product and, increasingly, the GDP of many other countries as well. We are already in the midst of a huge transition that's blending brand advertising with the multichannel direct marketing process, and we're at the forefront of a variety of innovative ways to build stronger relationships with existing customers, and reach new ones.
Even as spending is cut in the downturn, we will continue to see increases in key direct channels such as Internet and email marketing, direct mail and mobile. Also continuing, albeit at a slower pace, is the growth of broadband and the impact that transition is having on the entire multichannel mix, especially consumer media consumption. In addition, direct marketers will continue to use data and analytics across all the marketing channels to hone customer relationships to ever more precise measurable levels of value.
I believe our community is well positioned to help small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow as a way to recharge the economy. We can make a significant contribution to the overarching economic goals of the incoming Obama administration, and we are seeking to ensure that government financial support can be offered to people who want to learn more about direct marketing skills and techniques and apply them to their own value chain or business model. With the change of administration and Congress in Washington, it will be more important than ever in 2009 for the direct marketing community to be seated at the tables where major issues that affect all of us, such as privacy, data security, taxation, and rates, are discussed and dealt with.
2009 will also bring major changes for consumers struggling with the effects of recession and economic upheaval. While their spending may drop overall, the US consumer market remains a huge economic engine. Building and retaining the trust and acceptance of consumers is absolutely essential to fulfilling our vision of marketing directly, even if the engine is operating at a lower speed for the moment. We need to keep up every effort to position the multichannel direct marketing process as a benefit for everyone based on choice, convenience and value.
While the coming year will be very challenging, DMA is committed to providing members with the knowledge, resources, and skills needed to survive and thrive. We will also continue to advocate the interests of our large, diverse community in public policy circles - from Washington DC to every state capital, as well as major foreign countries - and we'll continue to manage the reputation of the direct marketing community with key constituencies and external stakeholders. All of these efforts have tremendous long term value for the entire marketing community, and we are working hard to sustain them into the future despite current difficulties.
We greatly appreciate the support and participation of all of our members, who recognize the value of this work and share an appreciation of its importance. I invite everyone to get engaged with the direct marketing community and DMA, and we will do whatever we can to help you survive and thrive as you navigate a challenging 2009.
John A. Greco, Jr.
President & CEO
Direct Marketing Association
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