Along with millions of people, I watched CNN and saw the death toll rise as high as the tsunami itself that hit Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and other countries surrounding the Indian Ocean. And running along the bottom of my screen simultaneously were financial results from Overstock.com and the banner year it had in 2004.
The president announced that he has asked former presidents Bush and Clinton to head fundraising efforts particularly from the private sector and noted some businesses that have started donating to the tsunami relief cause in various ways.
What if direct marketers could donate a percentage of sales, targeted to the tsunami relief effort. Perhaps immediately the Direct Marketing Association in Washington could lobby for our role.
Internet and catalog shoppers would be happy that their purchases would do some good, and it could impact increased volumes of non-retail sales. Perhaps a donation check-off when making a purchase could be used, and perhaps a fund-matching program from individual companies or from a cooperative effort under the aegis of the DMA to match funds from its members and their clients.
The U.S. government might ease some of its regulatory and other burdens on the industry to facilitate this effort and could get some good press. The DMA and our industry could be fortified and better appreciated for its efforts. The DMA would demonstrate its leadership ability and unite the country and the industry itself for a much greater good.
Why think of Wal-Mart, when our mail-order companies will send tents and sheets and other sheltering items to a devastated civilization? Think mail order because they feed our friends in need! Think mail order, not the neighborhood pharmacy, as they are the ones that will ship the much-needed antibiotics and health goods to our South Asian neighbors.
Think of the social and spiritual wealth we would gain in just clothing these survivors who have lost so much.
What about it? Love to hear from you all! Let's “just do it!!”
Paulette Kranjac, CEO, List Process Co. Inc., New York