Last week, I attended the annual DMA conference in New Orleans, where I connected with leaders in direct marketing from all across the country and many readers of DMU.
One powerful takeaway from the conference was further insight on the future of data-driven marketing.
The CEO of DMA, Tom Benton, shared his excitement in the field of data-driven marketing, as he sees technology continuing to improve at targeting and identifying the needs of the prospective customer… and consequentially profiting the company.
However, with many new advances comes a threat of greater interference from the government. That’s where the DMA has been taking on the advocacy role of defending self-regulation and fighting off unnecessary and harmful government regulation.
Tom described DMA advocacy like a sunscreen: It acts as a preventative for legislators that don’t understand marketing, but understand they can make political moves to their advantage.
For example, politicians often feel they have a grand slam in winning support by getting consumers concerned about data privacy and then promising more regulations.
The appointment of Ajit Pai to the FCC and an SEC that is more business friendly have been beneficial to reducing regulations. But the real danger are the state legislators that have been trying to grandstand the rollback of the horrific net neutrality President Obama tried to impose.
The DMA is trying to educate the public about the ethical nature of data base marketing and that it helps (not hurts) the consumer by making marketing more efficient. The DMA even has a PAC devoted to help politicians who understand and are willing to listen, with advocates in all 50 states.
Personally, I’m concerned about more federal government regulations. But Tom believes that a nationwide standard would help protect marketers and Americans from the aggressive state legislation. Vermont, for example, is willing to treat marketers who use 3rd party data more like criminals and sex offenders.
And legislators are close to having California destroy digital and even postal marketing.
One of the great points that Tom made is that government can’t keep up with massive ever-changing new developments in technology involving marketing. That means that marketing will continue to thrive and benefit businesses at a faster rate than the government can impose regulations or hinder marketing efforts.
You can see what the DMA is now doing by visiting