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Is Data Essential to Your Business? DMA Wants You to Help Fight for Its Future

October 15, 2012 By Heather Fletcher and Thorin McGee
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Consumers are concerned about online privacy, but irresponsible "fear-mongering" techniques on the part of government agencies, lawmakers and some members of the press are causing those same consumers to soak up what is now widespread misinformation—and now it's time for marketers to fight back, says Linda Woolley, DMA acting president and CEO, during her address Monday morning at the DMA2012 Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.

Elaborating on the concept to reporters afterward in the press room, Woolley says fighting back will take on three forms—research, consumer outreach and government lobbying—and will hopefully represent a more than $1 million campaign.

The first phase of the campaign—getting DMA members to join the effort—took form during Woolley's speech to the keynote crowd that morning.

"Marketers can use data to change the world," but not if some in Congress and the FTC get their way, said Wooley. There is a real danger that Congress could shut down the data that is the very heart of that ability. Now, DMA has a way for every marketer to help make sure that doesn't happen, and it won't take too much time or effort from members and attendees.

Asked during the press conference about the rest of the details of the campaign—what form a consumer-facing campaign would take, for instance—Woolley says those strategies haven't been formed yet. Asked by another reporter why consumers may believe direct marketers aren't taking their concerns about privacy seriously and are, instead, discounting them as invalid fears, Woolley pointed to DMA's pre-existing opt-out choices for consumers, such as DMAchoice and YourAdChoices.com. Also, she says, if direct marketing is really doing harm to consumers, they'll walk out with their feet.

However, consumers aren't doing that.

Woolley's address turned a spotlight on how marketers use data to give people what they want when they want it, and how that improves their lives. In fact, she said direct marketing this year accounted for 8.7 percent of U.S. GDP, and 52.7 percent of all U.S. marketing investments It also accounted for $2 trillion in sales and 9.2 million U.S. jobs.

 

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