It has been nearly 25 years in the making, but the DMA and IDM have finally settled their differences and joined forces to create what they claim is the largest marketing trade body in the UK.
The merger will be effective immediately, with both brands operating independently for the first year; the DMA in central London and the IDM in Teddington and its office in Marble Arch. After that, it is possible that they could share offices and even rebrand, although with the ink only just drying on the deal, nothing has been decided yet.
A merger was first mooted in the early Nineties when talks opened over the link-up of a number of like-minded trade bodies – including the British List Broking Association and the British Direct Mail Marketing Association – which eventually led to the formation of the DMA (UK) in 1992.
At the time, however, IDM founder Professor Derek Holder was not keen to get involved, maintaining that his organisation – as the industry training body – should be separate. The two bodies then signed a “joint memorandum” designed to prevent them from encroaching on each other’s patch.
But the strained relationship between the two organisations rumbled on for years, and it is an open secret that the two bodies were kept apart by politics.
However, despite the DMA launching training courses, the IDM survived largely due to the huge loyalty and respect Holder commanded within the industry – most people would drop anything to help him out, whether that was holding lectures, attending events or giving over their spare time.
When Holder passed away in February 2012, leading industry figures paid tribute to the huge contribution he made, with Terry Hunt, IDM president, as well as an IDM fellow, calling Holder “one of the founding fathers of modern direct marketing”.
Mike Cornwell had the unenviable task of succeeding Holder as chief executuve of the organisation. Depending on which version of events you believe, Cornwell either initiated the merger with the DMA or could not prevent it, and left earlier this month after two-and-a-half years in the role.
The merged organisation will be headed up by group chief executive Chris Combemale (pictured). Ken Goulding has been appointed group finance director, Jane Cave will be managing director of the IDM and Rachel Aldighieri will be the interim managing director of the DMA. The future of Lisa Turner, who has been marketing director of the IDM for over 17 years is not known.
DMA Julia Porter said: “The recently launched DMA Code and Guides establish a modern framework for responsible marketing in our profession. IDM training provides the skill-sets and knowledge needed for practitioners to succeed. They are two halves of a shared mission that will be better achieved together.”
The merger will also see the industry’s two main charities, the IDM Trust and the Direct Marketing Foundation, come together. The newly formed trust, a single charitable institution, will provide grants and bursaries to help attract, inspire and educate the most talented young people to enter the profession as well as support issues around fairness to consumers.
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