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ANA-DMA Merger Beefs Up Marketing Lobby

The Association of National Advertisers will acquire the Data & Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association), forming a coalitionthat, thanks to other recent mergers within both organizations, will create a powerhouse lobbying organization with deep interests in privacy and data security as well as advertising taxes and other media issues.

The merger expected to be completed by July 1. Financial details were not disclosed, although published reports suggested a "fire sale" price as DMA has seen declining revenue and membership in recent years.

One topic that is not on the merged group's agenda right now is net neutrality. Although some ANA members have questioned the FCC's rollback of net neutrality rules, neither ANA nor DMA "has taken a stance on net neutrality," Daniel Jaffe, group executive vice president for government relations at ANA's Washington office, told Multichannel News.

ANA's members include Comcast Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, AT&T, Verizon, the National Football League, Time Warner and many other media and telecommunications organizations. DMA's members include Google, Facebook and Twitter. eBay is among the companies that are members of both organizations.

Jaffe added that the ANA-DMA combination will "substantially increase the reach of both groups" in areas involving privacy and data security.

"We have always believed that the Federal Trade Commission should have the primary jurisdiction over privacy," Jaffe said, citing a major policy concern of both groups.

The merger, announced May 31, will create the largest advertising/marketing trade group in the U.S. Its combined membership will include 2,000 corporations representing 20,000 brands and engaging 150,000 industry professionals, including major national advertisers, ad agencies, media operators, law firms. ad tech firms and technical consultancies.

ANA CEO Bob Liodice, who has headed the organization since 2003, will remain as the merged group's top officer. DMA will become an ANA division to be headed by DMA CEO Tom Benton. The combined leadership team will "focus on identifying and implementing data-driven initiatives to advance the industry and drive growth," the companies said.

Among the benefits of the merger that Liodice and Benton cited is "advancing the development of new technology platforms to energize brand and business building efforts in the marketing ecosystem."

Their emphasis on that topic underscores the growing significance of digital, targeted advertising in the overall marketing environment.

The ANA-DMA alliance is the latest step in the ongoing integration (some may say fight for survival) of specialized lobbying entities in the marketing category.

ANA, founded in 1910, has in recent years acquired the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the Business Marketing Association (exclusively B2B members) and the Brand Activation Association.

DMA, established in 1917, has changed its name several times in recent decades, reflecting the shift toward digital marketing. In the 1970s it was known as the Direct Mail and Marketing Association, changing its name to Direct Marketing Association 1n 1983 and then to Data + Marketing Association in late 2016.