Editorial: DMNews' special CRM edition

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On every page in the July 13 edition of DMNews, you will get some key insights into data management and customer retention — issues critical to marketer's success and the future of the industry. But, there is another issue critical to securing direct marketing's future: advocacy for the industry itself. 

The direct marketing community faces challengers from a variety of fronts — consumers, legislative bodies, privacy groups, ecological societies and at times, even brands themselves. Don't forget for a moment that in an environment where sales, marketing, PR and ad departments are merging, your job is at stake if the value of marketing data and intelligence is not articulated to your prospective clients, the government and your C-suite. 

Last week, the industry released a set of best practices on behavioral targeting in an effort to pre-empt legislation coming from the Federal Trade Commission. Self-regulation is a standard response and good first step, but it only truly becomes meaningful if marketers begin to make their business decisions based on the business practices of intended partners. Your values and the values of those you employ and partner with should match. 

While it's still grappling with debt and politicking, the US Postal Service has begun to show signs that it listens to the needs of its key customers — the mailing community — by lowering rates. This minor progress results largely from the outcry and buying power of the mailing community that has success in getting the USPS to recognize the importance of mailers. Another triumph is the increasing number of environmental groups that are working side-by-side with direct marketers on sustainable resourcing. And, on the customer front, each person on the opt-in side of your e-mail database, requesting to be on your catalog list or downloading a widget onto his or her phone, is a testament to the desire to dialog with brands. 

Yet the "junk" mail label still saturates mass media, do-not-mail continues to be bandied about, and cookie scraping and searching Scroogle — a search engine that strips out pay-per-click ads — are regular online practices that threaten online commerce and measurement. 

Worse is when the marketing industry itself downplays the importance of direct marketing. One example of this has been the digital crowd re-terming the industry in order to skirt around associations with traditional direct. If you are testing creative, interacting directly with consumers and using the measurements to scale future spend - you are in the direct business. Embrace it, its legacy of accountability and those partners around you that also respect the best the business of DM has to offer.

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