DMA Pledges Cooperation With the ATA

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PALM BEACH, FL -- The Direct Marketing Association will work with the American Teleservices Association to defend the telemarketing industry in the future, DMA vice president Mike Faulkner said yesterday.

Both organizations represent the teleservices industry but have pursued separate strategies in the past, particularly on the national no-call list. They filed separate lawsuits challenging the list.

Faulkner spoke at the annual DMA Teleservices Conference here at The Breakers hotel.

While the ATA is pursuing its challenge to the Supreme Court, the DMA has rested its case and accepted the list as a permanent feature of the telemarketing business. Nevertheless, Faulkner welcomed several ATA leaders to the conference, including ATA chairwoman Lisa DeFalco, past chairman Tom Rocca and board member Benjamin Harris.

"We're in this battle together," Faulkner said. "This is a fight."

Faulkner pledged to help the DMA's new CEO -- who will replace retiring president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen in July -- encourage increased cooperation with the ATA.

DMA figures still show teleservices as the leading generator of sales in direct marketing, with $765.9 billion in overall sales in 2003, he said. Estimates show overall teleservices sales exceeding $1 trillion in 2007, but those predictions were made before the launch of the national no-call list.

"We've been hit hard, and it hurts," he said. "I'm not going to stand up here and paint a rosy picture."

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