DMA President & CEO John A. Greco, Jr. Champions Choice and Innovation
October 15, 2007 — DMA President & CEO John A. Greco, Jr. kicked off DMA07’s opening general session with an address, during which he was joined, both in person and via video message, by a number of illustrious guests, including US Representative Danny Davis (D-IL), Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada), Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK), and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Deborah Platt-Majoras.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley also gave DMA07 attendees a warm welcome to his city.
Throughout his keynote, Greco emphasized the vital importance of choice in a rapidly changing marketplace. “All of us are getting accustomed to having more choices as consumers. That’s driving innovation in every marketing communications channel—using new data techniques across the board.”
In communicating DMA’s mission, Greco said that one of the association’s chief aims is “to keep every channel of direct marketing open—and economically viable—for any marketer and any consumer who choose to use them.”
Direct marketing today, Greco explained, represents a powerful source of economic growth and value, with sales driven by direct marketing making up well over 10% of US gross domestic product. Indeed, with over 50% of advertising expenditures now going into direct marketing, he said, “people are getting the message.”
To illustrate this point, Greco revealed the “Power of Direct Meter,” a numerical digital display, showing rapidly increasing figures. He described the meter as a “real-time window into the current status of actual sales driven by direct marketing.” “So far this year, we’ve racked up approximately $1.5 trillion in sales. We’re well on the way to exceeding two trillion dollars in direct marketing driven sales this year.”
However, Greco pointed to some policy challenges, including the environment and proposals affecting data collection and security.
Despite the success of helping pass a meaningful postal reform bill last December, Greco told DMA07 delegates that the direct marketing community still faced significant postal challenges. “The most pressing challenges we face are the proposed do not mail laws in the states I mentioned.” In 2007, 15 states have introduced 18 such bills.
“We made a commitment…to act on this challenge, not to wait for it to get worse,” DMA’s CEO said. “And we’re doing it. The reason why no bills passed this year is because we were more prepared than our opponents. We got out there to educate legislators on the differences between do not call and do not mail… and the economic cost of eliminating up to a third of the postal system’s revenue. If we hadn’t, some of those bills might have actually passed.”
However, he stressed, this fight will continue for years. “We have to plan to step up and do more,” he said. “Toward that end, this year we launched Mail Moves America, a coalition whose members’ very business depends on keeping the mailbox open.”
Greco stressed that direct marketing needs to be synonymous with corporate responsibility. “DMA members must choose to stand out by showing how we comply with strong ethical responsibilities.”
Toward that end, Greco announced a new program: DMA’s Commitment to Consumer Choice (CCC). “The commitment,” he said, “urges DMA members to provide consumers with notice in each solicitation that they can modify or eliminate future mailings from that organization.”
“I call on all DMA members,” Greco said, “to take the lead in setting the best example for everyone—and not just with CCC, but across all interactions with customers, donors and prospects. I‘m confident you will all make the right choice.”
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