Sometimes, it’s better to get the news from the horse’s mouth. DMA CEO Tom Benton spoke with Target Marketing yesterday morning, before word got out about ANA acquiring the Data and Marketing Association. The Association of National Advertisers formally announced acquiring DMA yesterday.
“All DMA members will immediately become ANA members,” Benton said. “We're going to spend the latter half of 2018 — [ANA CEO] Bob Liodice and I and [ANA COO] Chris Manna — [to] work through a transition and figuring out what the configuration will be in terms of dues, and things like that. For now, everything is going to stay the same. All DMA members will continue to enjoy all of the DMA member benefits that they have today, and they'll be getting incremental ANA member benefits and we'll be defining those as we go forward through this transition period.”
DMA remains its own entity, a division within ANA, and DMA’s Nonprofit Federation and Email Experience Council (EEC) will also continue to operate in the same manner as they did under DMA. Marketing EDGE, however, is an independent organization and isn't part of the acquisition. Its relationship with DMA and ANA is slated to remain close, moving forward.
As a result of acquiring DMA, ANA becomes the largest U.S. trade association dedicated to all types of marketing and its membership will be comprised of “2,000 corporate enterprises representing 20,000 brands and engaging 150,000 industry professionals,” according to yesterday’s release from the ANA. Within that number, Benton emphasizes, “20% of the DMA membership is 501c3 fundraisers that do a tremendous amount of good in the world.”
What ANA Acquiring DMA Means for Marketers
And DMA staffers’ data-driven work, as well as contributions from data-driven marketers, will be the main assets DMA brings forward to ANA.
“This is fulfilling one of ANA's key strategies, and that was to build the data measurement and analytics functions of marketing as their advertisers pivot toward that space. So, it really is a complementary merger, if you will, and it's a paradigm shift for ANA because, as I said, they've been primarily a client-side marketing organization, and now ANA will represent the entire marketing ecosystem, both the client side, as well as the service provider and solution provider side. So, it really is the entire supply chain now that will be represented by ANA, with DMA becoming a division.”
What ANA Acquiring DMA Means for &THEN
Benton says DMA’s flagship annual conference, &THEN, will go ahead as planned this year. From Oct. 7 to 9, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will see data-driven marketers descend to attend what DMA calls “the global HQ for the data-driven marketing industry.”
“Of course, I feel that this will be an injection of energy into &THEN, being able to come together with ANA and across marketing to the two memberships. I think that this will benefit &THEN tremendously as we bring data-driven subject matter expertise to lots of traditional advertisers that are pivoting toward data-driven marketing.”
What ANA Acquiring DMA Means, Going Forward
Meanwhile, DMA retains all of its personnel, he adds, with the New York staffers having already relocated to ANA offices. The previous DMA stomping grounds on the Avenue of the Americas are already vacated, he said yesterday morning. DMA offices in Washington, D.C., and Virginia will remain in place for now.
And despite rumors to the contrary, Benton says DMA is bringing “positive net assets” to the ANA deal that’s finalized on July 1. Annual reports from DMA’s life prior to rebranding, when it was the Direct Marketing Association, show this is true. Annual reports since 2016 weren’t readily accessible yesterday. Update: A DMA spokesman says the organization's 2017 annual report will be filed later this year.
Benton’s remaining thoughts on the acquisition are extensive and detailed below.
Target Marketing: Is there anything specific to data-driven marketing that you want to highlight that DMA will be able to do now that you couldn't before?
Tom Benton: Oh, I think that we'll have critical mass. We're bringing two 100-year-old organizations together that complement one another. Considering what's happening with traditional advertising, particularly media, video advertising with the paradigm shift with smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, video has become interactive. Because it's interactive, it's generating data, which means you have that traditional advertising moving into the data-driven marketing space. It's one of the reasons that we're bringing the organization together, is that there's this consolidation going on in the industry where all of advertising and marketing now is data-driven. So, DMA brings that data-driven expertise, subject matter expertise to many, many advertising brands that ANA represents who are pivoting towards data-driven marketing.
“I think that this is terrific, a really good move for the industry. It'll be great for the client-side marketers, tremendous opportunity for all of the subject matter experts and solution providers from the supply side. And also with the paradigm shift for ANA where it moves from not just representing client-side marketers, but also the supply side, if you will. It really gives us an opportunity to increase the importance of DMA's self-regulation and accountability function. We'll be bringing that to ANA as well, so kind of the three legs of the stool, as I see it.
“Our client-side marketers, marketing service providers, and then the all important self-regulation where the industry is changing so rapidly and our members are initiating those changes.
“We need the industry to self-regulate, because we have the flexibility to do that. Federal government and state government just don't have that kind of flexibility or the deep understanding of what's going on that we have. And we've certainly have an interest in doing the morally and ethically right thing by all of our customers and donors in terms of privacy and things like that, but we also have an economic interest in doing that. We want to build lasting relationships with customers and donors based on three things; truth, results, and trust.”
Benton’s comment about self-regulation comes as data-driven marketers are under increased scrutiny regarding consumer privacy, post-GDPR implementation and the highly publicized problems that resulted in Facebook Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress.
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