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DMA Promotes Data-Driven Marketing

19 Dec, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON – A Direct Marketing Association (DMA) leader told members of the U.S. Congress last week that data-driven marketing benefits individuals, society and the economy.

Jerry Cerasale, DMA’s senior vice president of government affairs, spoke at a Congressional Privacy Caucus briefing hosted by Representatives Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas). Industry leaders, consumer activists and Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill joined Cerasale to discuss the business and privacy practices of data brokers. The meeting was a follow up to a July 25 query by Congress of nine data broker companies: Acxiom, Epsilon (Alliance Data Systems), Equifax, Experian, Harte-Hanks, Intelius, Fair Isaac, Merkle, and Meredith Corp.

Lawmakers asked to learn about each company’s business practices and whether and how the company collects, assembles and sells consumer information to third parties. The briefing followed the companies’ responses to the lawmakers. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Jon Leibowitz, Brill, and Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy Jeff Chester also have been invited to participate.

Before the briefing, Cerasale said data has transformed the marketing landscape forever. “Our increasingly data-driven world is reshaping how consumers and brands engage, interact and benefit from one another. Data-driven marketing benefits consumers individually by informing their buying decisions, and collectively by fueling competition. Marketing data is informing the political process as well, fueling successful political campaigns across the country – including the recent presidential campaign.”

Cerasale added that the DMA has spent nearly 100 years ensuring that marketers respect consumer choices while, at the same time, being able to offer the products and services consumers most desire with the convenience and value they demand. “The incredible growth of E-commerce – with online spending on Cyber Monday soaring to $1.46 billion this year – is strong evidence that consumers are delighted with the results of data-driven marketing, and that the American economy is growing stronger as a result,” he said.

Cerasale and other industry leaders hammered home economic benefits of marketing. The DMA reports that in 2012, marketers – commercial and nonprofit – will spend $168.5 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.7 percent of all ad expenditures in the United States. Measured against total U.S. sales, the ad spending will generate approximately $2.05 trillion in incremental sales. In 2012, direct marketing accounts for 8.7 percent of total U.S. gross domestic product and produces 1.3 million direct marketing employees in the U.S. Their collective sales efforts directly support 7.9 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.2 million U.S. jobs.

“Commercial data practices are essential to America’s job creation, economic growth and global leadership,” Cerasale said. “In the digital age, data-driven marketing is the fuel on which America’s free market engine runs.”

Earlier this year, the FTC urged the industry to create a centralized web portal where consumers could learn about companies’ practices and their options for controlling information collected about them. The agency also recommended that Congress pass legislation giving consumers access to information that data brokers hold about them.

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