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The IDM and DMA merger is good news – but has it come too late?

Finally, decades after they were both founded, the DMA and IDM (Direct Marketing Association and the Institute of Direct Marketing) have merged, creating a single voice for what used to be called ‘direct marketing’.

This merger should be applauded as a victory for common sense – brands, marketing and marketers will be better served by one organisation, providing the necessary services and recognition to enable direct marketing to be utilised as a key channel (both in a B2B and B2C context). This is a growing challenge, given the exponential increase and alignment with all things digital, at the expense of other channels.

The only negative aspect of this news is that it should have happened years ago - the existence of the DMA and IDM as separate entities may have made sense in the previous millennia, but the digital era it helped make direct marketing look increasingly outdated – even redundant.

I must confess to being rather out of the loop about developments at the DMA over recent years, following some unflattering comments made about its apparent revolving door leadership policy, and its approach to B2B. I hope the new combined regime, whatever it may look like, will have a more consistent and appropriate approach on both fronts.

I’ve been closer to the IDM during recent years, collaborating to create our Certificates in B2B marketing (due for imminent launch) and have worked with some excellent IDMers during that period. Yet this collaboration also served to confirm what a long shadow sadly deceased founder Derek Holder cast over the IDM, and how it has struggled to find its way since his recent passing.

However sensible a strategy, merger will not be a panacea for the IDM and DMA, nor will it secure their collective future – there are too many examples of failed mergers to take the success of this one for granted. There are testing times ahead for those committed to creating a single voice direct or ‘one-to-one’ marketing (whatever you chose to call it), but I for one wish them luck: the future of one of the most effective weapons in the B2B marketing armoury will depend on them getting it right.