The US DMA might have tried rebranding to distance itself from what it saw as the murky world of direct marketing but its financial woes have finally brought about its demise with the 101-year-old organisation being flogged off to the Association of National Advertisers, with its new name – the Data & Marketing Association – also likely to be consigned to the dustbin.
Readers of The Drum might be forgiven for wondering if this is the same story the magazine has published, which claimed the US DMA had been bought by the “Association of National Association”; it is, but this is the correct version.
The ANA has been on a major acquisition spree in recent years. In January it snapped up the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and in 2014 acquired both the Business Marketing Association and Brand Activation Association.
Terms of the latest deal were not disclosed, but it is scheduled to be finalised by July 1.
The US DMA ditched its direct marketing roots in 2016 by rebranding to become the Data & Marketing Association. Although the DMA acronym remained, at the time the move was seen as an attempt to distance the industry body from the negative perceptions around the term “direct marketing”, first coined by Lester Wunderman in the Sixties, and appeal to the wider marketing and advertising community. At the time, Ben Rachel, founding partner and planning director at agency Soul, claimed this self-obsession was “unhealthy”.
ANA chief executive Bob Liodice said: “The combination of these two venerable institutions brings immense value to both member bases, as they will share a wide array of valuable resources and leadership platforms.
“The ANA/DMA collaboration creates a dynamic new entity dedicated to comprehensively serving virtually every aspect of marketing with distinction and professionalism. The ANA is particularly enthused at the potential for enhancing consumer engagement and business value through innovative, data-driven marketing.”
The combined entity will comprise 2,000 companies representing 20,000 brands and 150,000 people.
The DMA, which was set up in 1917, will be led by the trade body’s chief executive Tom Benton and will operate as a division of the ANA.
Benton : “The ANA and DMA memberships are composed of the most talented and professional advertising and marketing organizations in the world. The combination of these two associations will provide all DMA and ANA members with the power to responsibly guide data-driven marketing that delivers value to consumers and customers.
“Data and technology evolutions have completely reshaped today’s modern business practices. Now is the ideal time for these leading associations to come together to bring enhanced consumer focus, responsibility, research, education, and advocacy to the industry.”
The trade body’s demise will not go unnoticed at the DMA UK, which is also considering a rebrand after bailing out the IDM in 2015 and agreeing a “merger”.