*Wunderman: Free Yourself From the Past

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CHICAGO -- Dominance in the direct marketing industry will go to those who are free of the past, DM pioneer Lester Wunderman said during his keynote address at the 45th Annual Chicago Direct Marketing Days Conference here yesterday. "Just making banal ideas, out-moded institutions and redundant business systems better is not good enough. Neither is giving the past a face-lift and calling it the future," he said. "New wealth is being created by those persons and businesses that provide the most added value." Downsizing is being replaced by up-thinking, he said, and industry dominance will be won by those who have the ideas rather than by those who continue to manufacture commodity products. "I believe that those companies and industries that have chosen to play at the direct marketing table have increased their odds for success, because direct marketing has become -- and will remain -- the advertising and marketing expression of the knowledge society," Wunderman said. Roundtable discussion at the conference included making sure consumers can buy merchandise on the Web as easily as possible. "Let's face it, we have to accept that convenience is emerging as the new driving force. We have to make doing business easy for our customers whether they're online or not," one cataloger said.

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