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New DMA chief says direct marketing industry image needs improvement

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New Orleans—Newly installed Direct Marketing Association President-CEO John A. Greco Jr. walked onstage at the trade group’s 87th Annual Conference and Exhibition to the lyrics "It’s a new day" and backed up that premise in his remarks.

An underlying theme of his address was the need to improve the direct marketing industry’s reputation.

"I’m committed to enhancing our industry’s image," he said. "We have a great story to tell."

Greco said direct marketers need to tell that story in order to secure customer trust and provide service and value.

Greco was followed onstage by keynote speaker Charlotte Beers, an advertising industry legend and former Under Secretary of State, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. State Department. Beers discussed the need for direct marketers to improve their industry’s brand image by first understanding that brand is not a product or service but a relationship and collection of experiences.

Beers said that as a group, direct marketers need to drop the jargon. "You have to take out the industry talk and talk ‘real people’ talk," she said.

"You have to define your work as a finely tuned dialogue," she added. "You need to teach your clients that you create a different kind of advertising."

—Carol Krol

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