Direct Marketing Association

Your Web Site - Usable or Snooze-able?
August 7, 2003

By Gabrielle Mosquera Logical question: How do I know if my customers can properly navigate my Web site as it stands? Logical answer: Ask them! No doubt you've heard a similar pitch in conference sessions. But in his recent sessions at The DMA's and Annual Catalog Conference shows, Phil Terry, CEO of e-consultancy Creative Good, took this advice one step further by including parts of his company's Customer Experience Methodology (CEM). According to Terry, CEM is less task-focused than many existing user experience research methods, and relies heavily on observations culled from what he terms "listening labs." The following notes summarize each

Waiting for the Upturn
July 1, 2003

Cautiously optimistic is how I’d describe the mood at the Annual Catalog Conference held in San Francisco last month. Cost-cutting tactics have helped many catalogers to weather this economic downturn, although everyone understands that such strategies are not the path to long-term growth — only short-term survival. Catalogers know they soon will have to invest again in their businesses to kick-start the growth trend. I found it encouraging, then, to hear that ad spending related to catalogs is up. It will exceed $15.3 billion this year, up 3.4 percent from 2002, according to a study from The Direct Marketing Association (DMA).

UpFront Solutions for Tough Times
April 1, 2003

Trying times reward the prepared. In this age marked by a down economy and international upheaval, it’s best to be prepared for how a crisis may impact both your customer base and your company’s operations. Two new guides can help catalogers plan for crises. “Contingency Planning for Catalogers During International and Domestic Crises,” a white paper published by The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), outlines possible risk scenarios and offers an issues checklist for each area of a cataloger’s operations. The authors, Fred Anderson, senior financial consultant, AndersonDirect, and Peter Johnson, Ph.D., senior economist at The DMA, advise catalogers to prepare for downside

The Issue That Can be Ignored No Longer
March 1, 2003

“Do-not-call lists are here. Do-not-spam regulations are being introduced. Do-not-mail legislation may not be far behind. The privacy issue may be the biggest concern the direct-to-consumer industry has as it moves forward.” These were the sobering words of Ben Perez, president of the Millard Group and chairman of The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) 11th Annual Catalog-on-the-Road Conference, which was held in Boston last month. “The direct marketing industry is on the government’s radar screen regarding privacy,” he continued, “and the attention is at a level that shouldn’t be ignored.” In related news, The DMA last month announced new initiatives to help direct and

Should You Rent Out Your Customer List?
March 1, 2003

About 10 percent of all consumer catalogers and an estimated 25 percent of business-to-business catalogers don’t rent or exchange names with any outside companies, according to a leading list-management company. This month I’ll discuss the different aspects of putting your No. 1 company asset — your customer list — on the rental market. Caveat: I believe it’s healthy and necessary for a catalog company to rent and exchange names with others — providing the proper controls that govern the use or unauthorized use of the names are in place. Consumer catalogers that don’t rent their lists often rationalize this practice

January 1, 2003

Why don't more catalogers use recycled paper? Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs, The Direct Marketing Association My response is based not on a strict study of our membership, but conversations with our members. If the [recycled-paper] supply got larger, the price would drop. For most of the members with whom we talked, the price of recycled stock is greater than the price of virgin paper. Some of our members have been able to negotiate with certain vendors in certain areas. But with members having such tight margins, just that little bit is enough for them to

Internet Use Tax Forgotten, But Not Gone
August 1, 2002

Edited By Gabrielle Mosquera Congress' November 2001 decision to extend for two more years a moratorium on Internet access and e-commerce taxes presents a boon for e-commerce. But Ben Isaacson, executive director of The Direct Marketing Association's (The DMA) Association for Interactive Marketing, notes that once the moratorium expires in November 2003, the next one may be harder to pass. "A few years ago, we had the full weight of Congress behind the growth of the Internet and the catalog industry," he says. "Today that weight has dissipated." Another obstacle to moratorium approval is the increasing momentum of the Simplified Sales Tax Project.

DMA Unveils New E-Marketing Guidelines
February 6, 2002

By Paul Barbagallo, assistant editor, Target Marketing & Inside Direct Mail The Direct Marketing Association (The DMA) unveiled Monday new guidelines regarding the sending of commercial solicitations by e-mail and the posting of Web site privacy policies, a shift in the organization's policy from several years ago. Initially, The DMA deemed it acceptable to prospect to an e-mail address unless its owner has requested otherwise. But the new guidelines prohibit prospecting with non-permission-based e-mail lists. According to The DMA, the new guidelines are part of a continuing effort to promote higher ethical standards among marketers. "Responsible marketers want to build trust with their customers

Try Teamwork: Internet Partnerships
December 1, 2001

Putting aside for a moment the criticisms about its overall business model, offers numerous lessons for Web retailers—namely, the inherent beauty of Internet partnerships. Indeed, Amazon set the standard for this mainstay in the e-commerce world, and numerous catalogers have adopted these principles to great success. In fact, 10 percent of all Internet sales and 3 to 5 percent of all online catalog Web sales come through affiliate sites—and these numbers are rising rapidly, noted two consultants at the recent Direct Marketing Association Annual conference in Chicago. In their seminar entitled “Internet Partnerships: Understanding the Key to Catalog Growth,” John Deneen, president of

Greening with Five P's (446 words)
June 1, 2000

Greening With Five P's A famous Muppet sang, "It's not easy being green," but two major catalogers are singing a different tune, offering proof that kindness to the earth can be good business. The Direct Marketing Association and the U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized Patagonia of Ventura, CA, and Norm Thompson Outfitters (NTO) of Portland, OR, for their environmental efforts with Robert Rodale Awards. Patagonia was named Recycler of the Year and NTO Environmental Mailer of the Year. The companies have achieved high levels of earth-friendliness through changes in "five P's": product, packaging, printing, postal and power.