For the past decade, the DMA has steadily lost membership, money, and relevance in the marketing and advertising community. With the increased desire of CMOs to become the next social media sensation and the rise in popularity of Cannes Lions and other organizations that hand out awards for “cool” advertising, many brands have moved away from direct mail marketing because it’s “not sexy enough,” not to mention the fact that “postage is so expensive.” Where once the DMA stood tall alongside other successful marketing organizations such as the 4 A’s, the American Advertising Federation, the American Marketing Association, and the ANA, it has been drowning in a sea of obscurity despite recent efforts to rebrand and renew itself.
DMA Members Can Now Interface Directly with Brand Advertisers
But there is now hope. The ANA boasts over 50,000 individuals representing 15,000 brands which collectively spend $400 billion in marketing and media on an annual basis. The organization’s purpose is to drive growth, and what better medium to do that with than direct mail, which has been the DMA’s bread and butter since being founded in 1917? The ANA can be the bridge between the DMA’s membership (direct mail marketers, printers, and data providers) to the brand advertisers, who are currently focused on above the line media, but are desperate to make their clients’ collective cash registers ring.
The DMA will now have direct access to the brand advertisers that they have been longing to court since the decentralization of agencies began roughly 20 years ago. And in turn, those brands will have access to the DMA’s resources and members that will help them meet and exceed all of their clients’ KPIs.
The younger generation of brand advertisers will now be exposed to a medium they currently refer to as … I can’t bring myself to use the “J word,” but you know where I’m going. Through the ANA, they will not only become more aware of the benefits and the strengths of direct mail, but hopefully more educated about the entire direct marketing discipline, which of course includes the data measurement and analytics piece as well. And over time, the education will lead to trial and adoption as each department in the agency will become more effective.
ANA and DMA Members Will Both Benefit
Agency strategic planners can now craft briefs that account for the entire length of the customer brand experience path. Media planners will be able to create truly holistic media plans that are segmented for the right customers and that address each section of the sales funnel. Creative teams will have every medium at their disposal to create compelling communications. And finally, analysts will be able to track, measure, report, and correctly attribute each response to the correct medium for each campaign, allowing for future campaign optimization.
The ANA will create new opportunities for the DMA and its members that will help propel the entire direct response practice to a new level of success and importance. Through the ANA website, its materials, membership, and events, I believe the direct mail discipline will make a resurgence with brand advertisers that will benefit all brands, and of course, greatly benefit the DMA.
The DMA has grabbed the lifeline. All they have to do now is let the ANA pull them in.
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