SAN DIEGO (AdAge.com) -- The Direct Marketing Association's annual fall show got off to what promised to be a rocking start as DMA President John Greco took to the stage with "Tick Tick Boom" from The Hives thumping through the less-than-three-quarters-filled auditorium. But Mr. Greco's speech soon sounded like all of the other keynote speeches that association presidents have been giving the past year, talking about the rough time the industry has just been through and how it needs to turn that into an opportunity.
"The role of direct marketing is changing," he said. "Business and nonprofits will need effective ways to reach prospects and donors, and they will need it more than ever. This is our opportunity to shine, and we can help the economy get back on track and keep growing."
Mr. Greco said the DMA would be doing its part to help stimulate the job market through a collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that is intended to generate 20 million new jobs in the next decade. "We are very proud to be working with the chamber to bring business owners together and provide the tools they need to strengthen and grow their bottom lines," Mr. Greco said.
He also made the pitch for industry self-regulation on privacy and had two significant pieces of news to offer up. He said the DMA had successfully worked to persuade the U.S. Postal Service to not increase rates in 2010, drawing a round of applause from those in attendance. The other news of note was that the DMA's board of directors unanimously approved additions to its Guidelines for Ethical Business Practices for online behavioral marketing and mobile marketing.
The morning's featured keynote speaker, Martha Stewart, spent nearly the first 20 minutes of her 35-minute speech walking attendees through the path she had taken to achieve her media mogul status -- starting with her childhood. After the "This Is Your Life" segment -- which skipped that period of time when she found herself in trouble for insider trading but did include a discussion about how successful her daughter is, and how hard her dogs work on their Daily Wag blog -- Ms. Stewart made a strong pitch for the use of new and social media. And while her convictions on the matter came across strongly, the case she laid out was somewhat elementary and nothing most of those in attendance hadn't heard before.
"The advent of digital technology is reshaping the media landscape and the marketing business along with it," the domestic doyenne said, noting that the internet has been an integral part of her company's business model. "I have been using a lot of new tools like blogging and Twittering and others like Facebook. Our websites feature many blogs, including mine, which gives visitors an inside view of my life, and I try to be informative in my blog.
"Everyone is really engaging with the content and they are all interested in learning," she continued. "I'm not sure where blogging will take us. If you track blogging you'll find it's more active during the workday so it's a double-edged sword. With more and more companies realizing this usage of the web is taking away from productivity, I don't know how we're going to attract those same viewers and users."
Ms. Stewart went on to say she was an early user of Twitter. "As the media landscape evolves our business strategy has to evolve along with it so we can tap into the power of all these tools and tactics," she said. "You have to use these tools and be active, informative and interesting with these tools. It's social, it's social media and it really works. Our goal is to be where consumers need and want us."
Ms. Stewart said that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is a media and merchandising business encompassing four magazines, TV programming, radio stations and programming and internet sites that reaches 37 million consumers each month. She touched upon her partnerships with Macy's, Michael's, Walmart, Target and 1-800Flowers.com, as well as a new merchandising partnership at Home Depot to begin in January that will include Martha Stewart-branded products in categories such as outdoor living, home organization and home decor.
She said the company was named Omnimedia because her goal was nothing less than omnipresence. "All publishing companies are looking for omnipresence,' Ms. Stewart said. "In terms of marketing, there is nothing better than this ideal of omnipresence. When we are trying to sell an advertiser on the ability to reach audiences across all media, it really does create a very interesting platform for our advertisers."