Several past Presidents of the WDMA board got together for the 30th anniversary meetup. We weren’t exactly sure what happened to the WDMA but around the turn of the millennium, we all started feeling pretty irrelevant. And if Direct Marketing is just about data & measurement, then anyone who can hook up Google Analytics is already doing it. Are we irrelevant?
This week I had a long conversation with someone involved with the original Direct Mail Advertising Association – which became the DMA in 1983 and now has been re-branded as the Data & Marketing Association. I guess its now just about data & marketing… ? Well here, we’re about Direct Marketing, the most powerful force in your advertising and sales arsenal.
In the 80’s the general agency people asked me, “What is so darn special about Direct Marketing?” They pointed out that they run TV commercials and consumer awareness improves or sales increase. They mail fliers and people show up at grand openings. Their advertising generated a measurable response… just like mine did. They had a GREAT point. That’s when I realized how truly special our Direct Marketing industry was.
Direct Marketing is about measurement…. and that generates data. I’m convinced that all the DMAA founders wished they could measure more than they were able. In the early days of advertising, John Wanamaker said, “Half my advertising is wasted… I just wish I knew which half.”
But the DMAA founders knew that they could figure out which half was most effective. They knew because besides measurement, they had methodology – a scientific way of building experiments in whatever they did.
The WDMA was founded in 1987 and had more than 20 years as a vibrant group. However, as mentioned, the Internet took a toll and our meetups ceased.
Recently we woke up, looked around at the mountains of data build from meticulous measurement and realized – most companies still don’t know ‘which half is wasted’. After more than 20 years the Internet promising “everything will be different” we’re finding that Direct Marketing is far more relevant than ever before. The reason is that with thousands of titles and hundreds of media knowing what is going on has never been more important.
The NEW WDMA will be dedicated to the science of Direct Marketing. We will commit to share the history, heritage, techniques, victories and the very latest case studies. We will be doing a monthly newsletter coupled with regular video webinars. Most importantly, we are currently re-building the WDMA Basics course – including application to new media.
Direct Marketers have never had such an exciting time!
Welcome to the WDMA
John Miglautsch, President