DMA must move fast to replace Keitch

Robert Keitch’s departure from the Direct Marketing Association is a blow to the association and it will have to move fast to fill the void.

Russell Parsons
Russell Parsons

Keitch, the DMA’s head of membership and brand and its public face, announced last week that he is to step down from his role at the end of the month.

His departure comes at a crucial time for both the association and the industry.

The recent national debate about “junk” mail sparked by the Conservative Party’s recent attack on Labour profligacy and the lifting of the limits on the amount of unaddressed mail Royal Mail can deliver, has thrust direct marketing front and centre in the minds of both the pubic and politicians.

Keitch was the public and industry-facing voice of the organisation and managed its relationship with the public and the Government. Essential then that the DMA picks someone who can represent the industry in a calm, cogent and considered manner whether it is in Westminster or in the media.

Also, his departure comes less than a year after his appointment and a restructure at the association that also saw Mike Lordan named chief of operations. The changes followed an internal review of the DMA’s role and relevance in a sector that is changing fast.

As an outsider looking in, the association is still finding its feet in an ever changing sector that is becoming ever more integrated with new media channels. Aided by the fine work of Keitch and Lordan, it has done much well since the review and restructure but, as I am sure it would admit to itself, much more is still to be done to embrace the brave new media world.

A challenge better met with a canny communicator at the coal face.

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