CLOSE-UP - Live Issue/DMA - Whither the DMA as Colin Lloyd makes his exit after nine years?

Nine years is a long time to run a trade association. Balancing the books while managing the constant in-fighting and bureaucracy is a wearying task.

In this context, Colin Lloyd's nine-year reign as head of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which ended with his resignation last week, is remarkable. His achievements were impressive, galvanising diverse interests, from agencies to mailing houses, into an (almost) united voice. He possessed a mixture of suave diplomacy and an acute entrepreneurial drive to overcome the complacency that can infect trade bodies .

Before joining the DMA as the chief executive in 1993, Lloyd had made his millions as a founder of the sales promotion and direct agency KLP.

The agency was sold to Euro RSCG and while many would have traded agency life for time on the golf course, Lloyd threw himself into the DMA task.

The DMA has become a large organisation with close to 900 corporate members, representing advertisers and agencies. Lloyd has presided over the rise of the DMA through consolidation - it is a conglomerate of ten trade bodies that have come together over time to create a single voice.

Lloyd lists his biggest achievements at the DMA as bringing together disparate groups - from telemarketing to DM agencies - to successfully self-regulate the direct marketing industry. He also thinks the DMA's role in educating consumers about direct mail has been vital. He adds: "The third area has been my passion for e-commerce. For many years, the dotcom fraternity believed they were not operating in direct marketing, but now many have worked out that they are."

His interest in interactive marketing led Lloyd to become the chairman of Trust UK, a consumer trust initiative for the e-commerce industry that now has backing from 70 per cent of all e-tailers.

Lloyd is likely to continue in his Trust UK role and increase his involvement with Mentor, a venture capitalist group looking to back start-ups. It has already backed the start-up agency Kittcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw.

Lloyd's departure is undoubtedly a blow to the DMA. His weighty contacts book and understanding of regulatory issues will be sorely missed. But the trade body has a good succession strategy in place, with James Kelly, the chief operating officer, stepping up to the role of managing director.

With Kelly at the helm, supported by the board, an immediate replacement for Lloyd as president is unlikely.

The issue of the DMA and other trade organisations consolidating into the IPA (a move the IPA is pushing for) may come to the fore after Lloyd's departure. Under Lloyd, the DMA was, at best, lukewarm about the proposal amid concerns that any merger would dilute the direct marketing industry's clout. However, Lloyd's departure may open the way for the pro-IPA proposal board members to respond to its overtures.

This remains to be seen. Given the rude health in which Lloyd leaves the organisation, it is easy to see why the IPA favours consolidation while the DMA is keener to stand alone.


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