DMA recommends course of action

While most Canadian marketers seem to share a 'business as usual' imperative, the industry is also focused on assessing the longer-term economic consequences of the tragic Sept. 11 attacks. With that in mind, last month, The New York-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) released the results of an economic impact study focused on the aftermath.

While most Canadian marketers seem to share a ‘business as usual’ imperative, the industry is also focused on assessing the longer-term economic consequences of the tragic Sept. 11 attacks.

With that in mind, last month, The New York-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) released the results of an economic impact study focused on the aftermath. The report instructs direct and interactive marketers – particularly those in the U.S. – on how they can best cope with possible economic consequences in the coming months.

Immediate changes to the industry, according to Michael Turner, head of the DMA’s newly formed Strategic Information Department, include shifting attitudes toward privacy and privacy policy, adjusting mailing schedules and implementing time-sensitive, geographically based strategies.

Marketers were also advised to begin sharing campaign performance data as a way to increase effectiveness.

In the longer term, marketers are being advised to ‘aggressively pursue’ reserve financing opportunities, re-evaluate projections for revenue, growth and profitability, as well as staffing requirements.

‘The consensus is that we will go into a recession,’ says Turner. ‘But the expectation is that it will not be a particularly acute recession, nor prolonged. And even though consumer confidence has taken a precipitous nosedive, most Americans believe the economy will be better one year from now – that’s encouraging.’

As for consumer confidence north of the border, ‘given that [the U.S. and Canada] are major trading partners, there’s a symbiotic economic relationship between the two.’

It should be noted that most Canadian direct marketers contacted by Strategy Direct+Interactive articulated some amount of uncertainty about future economic conditions, but suggested it’s business as usual. None indicated they were contemplating potential layoffs. In fact, many felt theirs is an industry that has the potential to gain momentum in a recession, given its accountability.

Meanwhile, the DMA was also considering compiling a list of those affected by the tragedy to allow marketers to suppress mail and phone calls. Fearing some industry members may be unwilling to travel, the association was offering free airfare with registration to its annual conference, being held in Chicago later this month.