I wanted to contact you regarding recent magazine notification emails you may have received. There have been some concerns expressed regarding this past Earth Day initiative, which we would like to address now that we have had the opportunity to properly review the situation.
DMA has a long-standing policy of promoting high ethical standards for itself, its members, and subsidiaries and, in fact, all marketers; toward that end we have a robust ethics process. We seek to build trust in the direct marketing community and its members and to ensure the integrity of the marketing process.
In support of this position, DMA recently conducted an internal review of an allegation that the volunteer co-chair of the eec inappropriately authorized commercial messages to eec members and subscribers. In this regard, DMA executive staff has had extensive conversations with the eec volunteer leadership team, regarding this initiative.
As a result of these conversations, we have ascertained that the eec volunteer co-chair did authorize an email notification to the eec subscriber base with a link to access a free issue of VIV magazine. We also understand that some people received two notification emails instead of the intended one. We have also determined that the list was not directly provided to VIV magazine, but to VIV’s hired electronic fulfillment company. Because the current eec co-chair, Jeanniey Mullen is employed by VIV, we have clearly explained the potential perception of this effort to her, and we are currently developing a process to ensure that such actions are not repeated in the future.
For your information and background, the DMA is now implementing the following actions in an effort to ensure that this or a similar situation does not again occur:
All eec leadership volunteers will sign a statement of understanding that they may not promote their own or any other third-party organization’s products and services without DMA’s prior approval.
All eec employees and volunteers in leadership positions will receive training on DMA expectations of conduct, including adherence to privacy policies and other marketing guidelines.
DMA will assign additional DMA staff members to oversee all ecc projects, calls, and other matters. This staff member will also work on the eec Roundtables and will participate in all eec initiatives.
We know that it is essential for the eec to have strong volunteer leadership comprised of thought leaders in the email marketing arena.
We are in the process of refining the structure and will be informing you of our progress.
While Ms. Mullen will continue to serve as a co-chair, to ensure that there are effective checks and balances in place, the DMA will fill the currently vacant eec co-chair position with an individual eec member from the marketer community.
Over the past few years, under Jeanniey Mullen’s leadership, the eec has played a significant role in bringing together the email community. DMA is proud to have the eec as part of our team and applaud the participation and efforts of all its members. During our first year together, we have continued to build out the eec membership base and launched the very successful Email Evolution Conference. We have only scratched the surface and look forward to working with all of you as we continue to serve all email marketers.
I am glad to hear the DMA took this seriously, implemented changes to prevent problems in the future and have communicated those changes to their membership.