Integrated Marketers: DMA Absorbs AIM

The Association for Interactive Marketing (AIM) is no more. Today, it was absorbed by its parent, The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which acquired AIM, officially founded in 1996, as an independent subsidiary in 1998.

“Today, interactive marketing is a discipline that is practiced by more than 80 percent of the DMA’s broad membership,” said John A. Greco Jr., DMA president and CEO. Greco had hinted earlier this year such an integration might be in the works.

“They’d been working on this and strategizing this for quite some time; the effects on marketing databases, pricing points, where everyone’s going to be organized,” a DMA spokesperson told ClickZ News of the long-rumored change. “We also had a changing of the guard, so if you consider it that way, it didn’t take so long.”

She was referring to Greco taking over the reins in late 2004. One of his first moves as the organization’s new head was to shake up Internet-related DMA committees.

The newly integrated organization is forming an Interactive Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) to focus on interactive marketing technology, research, and resources. Scott Ferber, CEO of Advertising.com, will serve as incoming chairman.

Michael Aronowitz, who headed AIM, will serve as the new board’s executive director. Dubbed the DMA IMAB, it comprises the chairs of the DMA’s existing Marketing Technology and Interactive Council (MTIC), as well as Emily Hackett, executive director of DMA subsidiary the Internet Alliance (IA). Board members include Ferber; Michael Della Penna, Bigfoot Interactive CMO; and Matt Blumberg, chairman and CEO of Return Path. Additional board members will be announced in coming months. The heads of taskforces on search, email, performance marketing, e-commerce, and online advertising will serve on the new council.

AIM members join the DMA’s 5,2000 members (representing $2.3 trillion in U.S. sales). They now have access to DMA resources formerly outside their AIM membership privileges, including access to the MTIC and the IA.

AIM had become increasingly marginalized in the marketing community over the past couple years. In mid-2003, several of the group’s members resigned in protest when the DMA suppressed an email best practices document that sought to define spam. Since then, the leadership of both AIM and the DMA have changed.

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