Larry Kimmel was named the Direct Marketing Association's president in July. The former advertising executive (chairman-CEO of G2 Direct & Digital) is overseeing his first DMA conference and exposition this week.
BtoB: DMA has been heavily focused on consumer marketing. What are your plans for b-to-b?
Kimmel: B-to-b is incredibly important for us. This year at DMA2010, we have a b-to-b track, and the b-to-b Marketer of the Year award, which will go to Kathleen Barrett, marketing communications manager at Hewlett-Packard Co.
At Advertising Week, we did a session on voice of the customer that was b-to-b fo-cused, and we're putting in another session for the b-to-b community on Oct. 27, at our Social Media Spotlight in New York. Yahoo will be presenting, with most of the focus on small businesses.
Launching Oct. 11 will be a new website, www.newdma.org, where we'll invite the community to put some of their fabulous case studies that demonstrate unique solutions to difficult problems. Neal O'Keefe [DMA VP-multichannel segments], who participates in our B-to-B Council, will be reaching out for contributions. And for the first week in November we're planning a Mobile Global webinar, featuring a core element of business marketing from Japan, South Korea, Brazil and other countries.
BtoB: What factors are influencing this?
Kimmel: Several people have come to me and talked about augmenting our b-to-b outreach, and no doubt that will be more important in the future. Also, when you think about the globalization of direct marketing, b-to-b is an essential component of that. At DMA2010, we have huge delegations coming from multiple countries, and we're trying to bring together this community to a far greater degree than in the past.
BtoB: B-to-b direct marketers were undoubtedly pleased with DMA's role in lobbying the Postal Regulatory Commission to deny the Postal Service a rate increase last month?
Kimmel: That was huge. We called our partners in the mail community, and did something unprecedented—getting 1,200 companies together as part of the Affordable Mail Alliance to fight the proposed rate increase. Together, these people represent 70% to 80% of all the mail going through the mailstream. We estimate the economic impact saved was more than $31 billion over the next 10 years, about half of that accruing to b-to-b providers. Nobody thought we could do it.
BtoB: Another interesting development was the official launch last week of your Internet privacy initiative, along with other marketing organizations, offering consumer information and an opt-out feature from behaviorally targeted ads.
Kimmel: We think this will be terrific for the business community, and for consumers to understand why they are getting these ads and offering them a choice about what they want to do. All our members are required to abide by this program, and DMA will look to make sure that advertising participants enforce the rules they are agreeing to.
BtoB: How do you account for these recent successes on the lobbying and regulatory front?
Kimmel: For years, many organizations tried to do things independently. These two recent initiatives are great examples of collaboration between us and other members of the marketing industry, making a statement that the business community has coalesced around a single idea. That has made our ability to implement things far more effective.