Live from DMA Annual: Wientzen Addresses Key Issues

Orlando, FL—In his Oct. 13 keynote address at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference here, DMA president/CEO Bob Wientzen gave attendees a hint of the agency’s new survey on response rates. And for catalogers, some of the data he revealed weren’t pretty.

The report, which surveyed companies in 12 marketing channels and 23 industries, ranked catalogs as the seventh strongest channels in terms of return on investment for lead generation. Although Wientzen didn’t elaborate much in the interests of enticing attendees to buy the 360-page report, he said that the growing cost of printing and mailing catalogs kept them so far back in the pack.

Among other issues of interest to catalogers, Wientzen fiercely defended the DMA’s position on the Federal Trade Commission’s do-not-call list. “When you have the president of the United States referring to telemarketing calls as ‘intrusive’ and ‘annoying,’ you know you’ve got a political problem on your hands,” Wientzen conceded. “We do believe in a national do-not-call list, but no, we do not think that’s an appropriate job for the government. Moreover, the system as it’s currently configured is seriously flawed.”

Although the DMA on behalf of outbound telemarketing member companies “has won some of the court battles,” Wientzen said, “make no mistake about it: We have not won in the very powerful court of public opinion. The do-not-call list places our industry atop a slippery slope that might lead us illogically to national lists for unwanted e-mail and direct mail.”

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