The Beginning of the DMA’s Next Chapter

Posted by Matt Blumberg on

Matt Blumberg
By Matt Blumberg
CEO & Chairman

As I wrote a few months back, I recently joined the DMA’s Board of Directors and its Executive Committee to try to help the association – one of the largest and highest profile groups representing marketers – advance its agenda in a few specific ways. At the time, I noted that my interests would be on consumer advocacy and engagement, execution around interactive marketing issues and the internet community, and transparency around the organization itself.

Yesterday, John Greco, the association’s CEO, announced he is stepping down to make way for the next generation of leadership. John has done some great work the past five years running the DMA and has advanced it materially from where the association was when he took over in terms of interactive marketing, but he recognized (the hallmark of a good leader) that it was time for a change.

There are all sorts of questions people have about this announcement, and I’ve already gotten a number of calls and emails from people trying to read between the lines and get some inside scoop. Some of the questions have answers – others don’t at this stage or can’t given confidentiality agreements.

That said, as a new Board member helping the DMA build some bridges to the interactive marketing community, I thought I would share a few perspectives on this situation:

There is not a final search committee yet, nor are there final search criteria. That said, there is a strong commitment to find a leader for the DMA who is not only capable of running a broad-based $30mm+ trade association and running a world class advocacy operating in Washington, but who also has deep roots in the Internet

There are many, many initiatives in the works – some of which have been underway for quite some time now – for the DMA to evolve as an association to more effectively execute its mission in the interactive marketing arena. These will start to unfold relatively quickly

The DMA’s Board and Executive Committee are fantastic groups with very progressive, committed volunteers who understand the things that need to happen. “Reform,” which probably isn’t quite the right word anyway, isn’t being pushed on the association – it is coming from within

The DMA is committed in its search process, and in its new “operating system” going forward, to embrace not just its membership but the broader interactive and direct marketing community as it evolves its strategy, broadens its mission, and looks for a new leader

So the bottom line is – this announcement of one change is the first of many. Stay tuned, and look for much more open and transparent communication from the DMA, including a lot more community-oriented dialog as opposed to just one-way statements, than you’ve ever seen before in the coming weeks and months.


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About Matt Blumberg

Matt Blumberg founded Return Path in 1999 because he believed the world needed email to work better. Matt is passionate about enhancing the online relationship between email subscribers and marketers so that both sides of the equation benefit. It is with great pride that he has watched this initial creation grow to a company of more than 400 employees with the market leading brand, innovative products, and the email industry’s most renowned experts. Before Return Path, Matt ran marketing, product management, and the internet group for MovieFone, Inc. (later acquired by AOL). Prior to that he served as an associate with private equity firm General Atlantic Partners and was a consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University. You can learn much more about Matt by reading his email marketing and entrepreneurship blog Only Once – one of the first CEO blogs on the Internet. Last year he wrote a book, Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business.

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