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Saturday, September 1, 2007
Out of the ashes

Back in 2003 it had seemed like a good idea for three SA marketing organisations to join forces. They were the Direct Marketing Association, the Institute of Marketing Management, and the Association of Marketers, and they merged to form the Marketing Federation of Southern Africa.

However, the new body proved both cumbersome and unsustainable and eventually closed down. All that was left were certain specialist bodies representing areas such as public relations and research, so the demise of MFSA left much of the direct marketing industry in South Africa largely unrepresented.
It was last year that a group of marketers decided to establish a new body to represent their interests. Thus the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa (DMASA) was registered as a Section 21 company, and commenced operations on the 2nd March 2006. Its first newsletter was issued June 2007.
Comments the association, “The DMASA will be playing a more vigorous role in the direct marketing industry”, bearing in mind the significant contribution such promotional channels make to the country’s GDP, and should be a respected component within the marketing mix.
On 19th March 2007 the association launched its “Opt-Out Register”, and says that to date over 21 000 consumers have registered to be removed from mailing lists used by its members. The register was developed in response to Government legislation, which seeks to curb the masses of unsolicited marketing material disgorged via SMS, e-mail, telephone and post to unsuspecting consumers.
It will also curb the on-selling of databases containing personal information which, with pending legislation, will be heavily censured. 
All companies making use of databases will be required by proposed law to run their lists against the opt-out register each and every time they plan to issue a direct marketing campaign. They must remove any names appearing on their lists that have been registered on the opt-out list. Failure to do so will result in heavy penalties, a process that is to be regulated.
On the other hand, the DMA says it will also be launching an Opt-In list for consumers who would like to receive information about specific products and services that are of interest to them. A consumer will be able to select from a list of categories in which he is interested, and he can also choose his preferred medium of communication. Hopefully the two registers won’t get mixed up, especially where a consumer opts out of everything first before choosing say one area of interest.
Consumers may register for free in the opt-out register at www.dmasa.org. The association can be contacted on (011) 577 2780. By Nigel Benetton

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:20.8 1st September, 2007
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