Live from DMA: Greco on Self-Regulation Challenges

Chicago–Direct marketers face a lot of challenges these days, but perhaps the most pressing, according to DMA president/CEO John Greco, is state “do-not-mail” legislation. In his Oct. 15 keyout address at the DMA’s annual conference here, Greco noted that if any of the proposed do-not-mail laws pass, “we believe a lot of consumers will sign up, even if the reason don’t make sense.”

Activists on both the privacy and environmental fronts are “challenging our system self regulation” by raising tens of millions of dollars, generating celebrity support, and drumming up negative publicity about the industry, Greco said. The DMA has several effort to help the marketers image their image, including the Mail Moves America, Recycle Please, and The Green 15 campaigns.

But marketers need to take it a step further by focusing on what their customers want and need. Greco announced a new DMA program that addresses the concept: Commitment to Customer Choice. The initiative asks DMA members to provide customers and prospects with an easily defined option to decline contacts. The DMA is also requesting that members use the DMA’s mail preference service file, which will now be available monthly instead of quarterly.

“Give customers the choices they’re entitled to and the respect they deserve,” Greco said, adding that such initiatives will help “limit solicitations instead of stopping them altogether.” If the industry can’t sucessfully police itself, he said, “we might as well turn out the lights and hand the keys over to the regulators.”