DMA must weed out rotten apples

Brassed Off Britain seriously wounded the direct marketing industry, so rather than seek urgent medical attention, our industry hid under a bush hoping that, in time, the wounds would heal themselves.

Come spring, the DM industry would be behaving as if nothing had happened. But the scars remain, and Alan Mitchell’s response to the DMA’s survey of consumer attitudes and experiences was refreshingly candid and insightful (MW March 17).

Direct marketing’s wounds will not heal until we face up to the challenges raised in Brassed Off Britain. To do this will be painful and requires a great deal of soul-searching.

The industry has not gone far enough to put its house in order. Brassed Off Britain presented the perfect opportunity to take action that would resonate both within the industry and with the public. At the time, I was aghast by a lack of any real response from our industry and the lack of any real leadership to drive action.

We were easy prey and the BBC did a great hatchet job. There can be little doubt that there are some horrific examples of direct mail (as there are good and bad in every industry), and boy did the BBC make the most of our lack of (self-) regulation. It was men against boys.

The DMA has to take some responsibility for the work that gives our industry a bad name. Yet to commission research which is at best on the “spin-cycle” does not make it appear as impartial as it should be.

So what would I like to see done? First, the industry must publicly admit there are issues it needs to tackle. Consumers should then be able to name and shame the miscreants, with details posted on the DMA website.

The DMA should employ a telegenic front man or woman to act as its public face and win over a cynical public. No easy task, but one we need to face.

However, without stricter policing and proper governance, we find ourselves in a situation where, as Private Frazer used to say in Dad’s Army, “we’re doomed”.

I’m not sure that Captain Mainwaring is the answer. Any volunteers?

Jonathan Clark

Co-founder and chairman

Clark McKay & Walpole

London W1

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here