Safire Editorial Misses the Point

Share this content:
I believe Ken Magill's editorial response to William Safire (iMarketing News, March 19) misses the point both intellectually and politically. The reality is that people are afraid of Big Brother (Orwell's "1984" is not an unforgotten book) and the implications of hidden, increasingly sophisticated and invasive technology. And people can see the effects: more target mailings, more personal information revealed in mass-produced letters to individuals, more personal financial information becoming public property. And they're more afraid of what they don't see.

Yes, I too, am in direct marketing. But I do not believe direct marketing leaders, you included, are sensitive enough to either the perceived or real threat of information dissemination. We do not live in Russia or even England. The notion of individual freedoms and privacy is central to our American psyche. Where is the industry-wide educational effort to help the public understand the benefits of direct marketing? Where are the clearly defined industry standards on disclosure of personal or transactional information to third parties?

It was only months ago that Publishers Clearing House and others settled lawsuits as a result of misleading direct marketing practices. Various attorneys general successfully argued that such practices resulted in millions of dollars being spent, weighted to the poor and elderly, on unnecessary magazine subscriptions. You did not miss these events, and neither did anyone else. This was target marketing at its best, from the standpoint of results. People who responded best were retargeted for future mailings. But from a public relations perspective, this was a disaster for direct marketing.

Against this background, how can you argue your position with such arrogance? The vitriol of your position borders on either the ignorant or the oblivious, analogous to reading the last claims of the cigarette manufacturers that, no, there are no risks, smoking doesn't cause cancer. You are setting yourself up.

I think if direct marketing wants to avoid more legislation - legislation that neither a libertarian nor I want to see - the attitude of the industry must change. Your attitude would be a good place for that to start.

If you think libertarians are out to get you, you should read up on your political science. There are worse groups to have as enemies.

Jay Williams Jr.

Direct Marketing Results

Wayland, MA


Next Article in Digital Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above