Editor’s Note: Response Goes to Washington1 Apr, 2012 By: Thomas Haire Response
Did you know that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has entered into
$1 billion worth of settlements with marketers misusing negative options in the past year alone?”
Those words, from Lois Greisman (associate director of the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices for its Bureau of Consumer Protection), were among the many great pieces of information and opinion I gleaned while visiting the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) recent “DMA in DC” event in Washington.
The two-day event gave an exclusive, high-end roster of marketing executives not only great new information — the FTC released its report on online privacy literally 90 minutes before one of its commissioners, Julie Brill, gave a lunchtime keynote on March 26 — but also the opportunity to have their voices heard by staffers for nine U.S. Senators and six members of the U.S. House of Representatives during a day of meetings on Capitol Hill.
Importantly, those members of Congress are all working on committees or subcommittees that tackle key topics for DR marketers — online privacy, telemarketing, postal reform and more. I attended three of these sessions, marching back and forth across Capitol Hill. The feeling of having a say in our government was powerful, as the legislative aides were truly intrigued by the questions and comments of some of the leaders of our marketing space.
By choosing to sponsor the DMA’s efficiently planned and expertly executed event, Response was continuing — even doubling down on — its commitment to keeping our readers up to date on the most recent legal and regulatory issues facing DR marketers. Getting behind the scenes with regulators, Washington power brokers, Beltway opinion leaders and members of Congress allows us a new perspective with how to attack our coverage and offerings in this space.
Of course, if you’re a member of our networking community — the Direct Response Marketing Alliance (DRMA) — you likely already receive our DRMA Voice monthly E-newsletter, which features some of the leading attorneys in the DR space discussing the hottest regulatory topics of the month. At the same time, key industry attorneys, such as Manatt Phelps & Phillips’ Linda Goldstein and Venable’s Jeffrey Knowles, have shared their wisdom in these pages for more than a decade.
However, gaining the first-hand opportunity to mix with this impressive array of marketers and Washington contacts opened new doors for us and, therefore, our readers. We take pride in partnering with best-in-class groups, and this outstanding experience with the DMA’s government affairs team proved to be just that.
With new relationships, new insights and new excitement about what we can — and should — accomplish by delving deeper with members of Congress and the regulatory community, you can expect Response’s print pages and online editions to expand in this area in the coming months, starting with a full recap of the event in next month’s issue.
— Thomas Haire, Editor-in-Chief