Economy Better Than Anticipated, NCDM Keynoter Says

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PHILADELPHIA -- Database marketers can breathe easier because the economy is actually having a much stronger year of growth than anyone anticipated, Todd Buchholz, an expert on global economic trends, said yesterday at the National Center for Database Marketing Summer 2002 Conference.


Buchholz, who gave the keynote address, said there are many positives to look at, including lower interest rates, the extraordinary resiliency of the American consumer and the fact that the Euro, instead of collapsing has risen 20 percent.


While Buchholz also said that there are still two risks to the economy that everyone should be aware of -- including the price of oil and the fact that interest rates could go up -- he also said that Fed chairman Alan Greenspan "was right last week when he told Congress the economy would be growing at 3 [percent] or 4 percent annual pace."


Buchholz is chairman and chief investment officer of Victoria Capital and author of "Market Shock: Nine Economic and Social Upheavals That Will Shake the Financial Future."


Meanwhile, Charles Prescott, vice president of international business development and government affairs at the DMA, said data and databases continue to fuel the industry, "which despite a recession that has socked advertising and retailing very hard last year generated $1.8 trillion dollars in direct response sales and this year is projected to surpass $2 trillion dollars."


However, not all is calm waters, said Prescott, who was filling in for DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen, who was ill, as he mentioned the issue of privacy.


"A lot of people -- and their elected officials -- have the impression that database companies are indiscriminately vacuuming up every drop of information they can find about people and selling it to the highest bidder," he said.


Prescott said the DMA is continuing to work with government decision-makers, the media and directly with the public "to help strike the right balance between honoring each user's choice and harnessing the tremendous power of consumer and business marketing data."


Other issues that could affect this industry's future growth include rising postal rates, which, Prescott said, tend to suppress prospecting; postal legislative reform, which is linked with postal rates; the FTC's proposed national do-not-call registry; and overreaching legislative efforts relating to spam that adversely impact e-mail marketing from reputable marketers.


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