Direct Digital Marketing and The DMA

Casey BartoIt is no secret that the marketing industry is advancing and evolving at lightning speed. Direct digital marketing continues to play a vital role in the evolution of the industry, and the question of what marketing institution is going to sweep it up and embrace it has emerged. Will it be the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) or the American Marketing Association (AMA)?

Marketers know there is no single form of marketing or online marketing that is more customer-centric than direct digital marketing, and I’ve found that the AMA is poised to embrace direct digital marketing, while the DMA appears to have tethered its fortunes to the offline marketing channels.

The AMA has its finger firmly on the pulse of the industry. For example, the association is set to publish its first Direct Digital Marketing directory in the Fall, and has provided educational and editorial content on the advancements within the industry.

The DMA, however, appears to be a different story. Over the past several months the DMA has been through quite a shake up, enduring several transitions in its leadership and questions from members and industry experts about whether the association still provides value.

Multichannel Merchant writer Richard H. Levey recently penned an article chronicling the shifts happening on the DMA’s board. Of particular interest was the announcement that in addition to the resignation of board Chairman Eugene Raitt, four other board members also resigned their positions. Though Raitt resigned to focus on his professional duties, the resignations of Bill Fairfield, CEO of infoGroup, Steve Fuller, CMO of L.L. Bean, Mary L. Miller, SVP/CMO of PetSmart, Pat Snyder, SVP of Merchandising and Marketing at Cabela’s, remain a mystery.

When executives from companies that do online marketing well leave the DMA, it is fair to ask questions. What is clear is that the inability or unwillingness to embrace direct digital marketing appears to be driving marketing professionals out of the DMA and likely away from any publication that fails to cover the industry substantively.

What do you think? Does the DMA appear ready to embrace the advancements within the industry? Is there a third marketing association that may emerge and embrace direct digital marketing?

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