Marriage of direct mailers, Web marketers p.12

By: Rob Lenihan In a mixing of media, marketing groups
join the forces of the post office and Internet

The Direct Marketing Association took over the Association for Interactive Media last week.
The merger combines the largest trade association for direct marketers with the largest trade association for Internet marketers. Plans call for AIM to operate as a DMA subsidiary.
You could call it a May-September marriage, or a union of David and Goliath: DMA is 81 years old, AIM is 5; DMA's annual budget is about $31 million, AIM spends slightly over $1 million.
What the merger means for newspapers is unclear. Bob Wientzen, DMA's president and CEO, said direct marketers are bringing more subject-related content to their Web site catalogs. "A lot of folks involved in food and cooking, for example, are bringing more content in forms of recipes," he said. "It's less expensive than ink on paper, which takes up another page. The cost of bringing editorial along with the effort to sell is much more reasonable and many of them seem to be doing it."
He said that the interest in content could provide an outlet for newspapers to provide content to catalogs in the future. "Newspapers are looking for ways they can participate in (the Internet) in a more aggressive way," Wientzen said. "I frankly think newspapers are struggling to come up with the right business model."
He said newspapers, like many other businesses, "are going to find the Internet an attractive place to be, but not an easy one to figure out a business model that's profitable."
DMA's members include such companies as IBM, Dell, Time, Microsoft, McGraw-Hill and several newspaper companies. Wientzen noted that a seminar dealt with marketing newspaper subscriptions.
AIM's Web site members include the New York Times, Hearst's new media unit and Time Warner Cable.
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