BCDMA looks at ‘direct’ future

The British Columbia Direct Marketing Association (BCDMA) will go through a strategic review in March/April to decide whether or not it will comply with its 'parent' CMA's recently put-forth recommendations.
As part of its three-year process to adopt a broader mandate - one that includes all marketing disciplines - the Canadian Marketing Association has articulated a list of requirements that it wants its chapters to embrace.

The British Columbia Direct Marketing Association (BCDMA) will go through a strategic review in March/April to decide whether or not it will comply with its ‘parent’ CMA’s recently put-forth recommendations.

As part of its three-year process to adopt a broader mandate – one that includes all marketing disciplines – the Canadian Marketing Association has articulated a list of requirements that it wants its chapters to embrace.

‘It’s got a patchwork quilt of associations out there that still have a direct mandate,’ says Murray Pratt, president of the BCDMA, who – along with all the chapter presidents – helped draft the list of recommendations.

The primary mandate is that at the end of this year, each chapter needs to decide to either drop the ‘direct’ and embrace the CMA’s broader vision in its mandate and programming, or go it alone. While there is a financial relationship between the CMA and its chapters, Pratt says it represents probably less than 5% of the revenues of each organization. (The local chapters, of which there are eight, raise most of their money through programming and events.)

‘It should be noted,’ says CMA president John Gustavson, ‘that most of these organizations are independent – they existed previously and chose to affiliate with us. We had requirements then, like adherence to our code of ethics, and now we’re adding others.’

Just by indication of a name change, he says, Ottawa and Edmonton have already complied (by dropping the word ‘direct’). He’s unsure about Manitoba and Calgary, while, he says, Atlantic Canada, Quebec, B.C. and Toronto have not yet adopted a name-change. Chapters have until Jan. 1, 2004, to be completely in line with the recommendations.

‘We’ll see what happens. We’re bringing in a facilitator to help the process, because I won’t remain neutral on it. But I’m not outlining my position at this time,’ says Pratt, adding that the BCDMA, with 220 members, already has broader mandates within its programming.

Next month, the BCDMA, in partnership with the Vancouver Board of Trade, will hold its 3rd annual Direct Marketing Day.

Scheduled for March 14, the event is intended to highlight some of the province’s major direct marketing success stories, as well as address some of the main issues affecting direct marketers in the province today. Speakers include Matthew Dunn, senior VP, business systems and CIO of Intrawest Corporation and Jane Whittam, director of customer management project for the BCAA.