Blog Activity

  • Five Tips for Public Speaking


    June, 2015

    A Stand-up Comic in the World

    of Sales: Five Tips for Public Speaking

    For ten of my 14 years in direct marketing, I’ve had the pleasure of being in a client-facing role. For six years, I have also been a standup comedian, a role that has helped me become a more effective Communicator and public speaker. 

    Last October I had the honor of serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the DMA14 conference in San Diego. Perhaps you saw me in action. That gig was my first experience putting my personal and professional worlds together. I loved it, and I learned a lot. 

    So I thought I’d share with you five tips for public speaking, which I have learned from comedy and sales.

    Do your research. Whether MC’ing an event or presenting to a single client, try to understand as much as you can about that organization. This is much easier now than it was when I first started in our industry. There is a wealth of information on the Internet, so use it.

    Always try and address a room as if you’re having an intimate conversation with an individual

    or a small group. When I looked out at that DMA audience of several thousand people, I admit, I was pretty overwhelmed. But when I reminded myself that I was just having a conversation, it made all the difference. Of course, it helped that my first joke hit the mark!

    Read the room. Whether at a comedy club or a client demo, pay attention to how your audience is reacting to the presentation and content. If you see that they are less interested in a certain set of products or topics, shift gears and move to another area of focus. In a comedy club, if you lose the audience, watch out—they’ll start heckling you.

    Set an expectation. Right up front, I like to introduce the topics, along with the time the presentation will last. I get specific, for example,“Today we will discuss our five product offerings, covering 12 slides, taking 45 minutes, with 15 minutes for questions at the end. ”There is nothing worse than an audience that doesn’t know how long a presentation will be. 

    Fess up. If you really don’t know the answer to something, don’t try and fake your way out of it. It’s okay to say you don’t know, take that person’s contact info and get back to them with a follow-up call or email. This only works if you actually follow up, so please make sure you do. 

    Those are five tips that come to mind, but I do want to add one pet peeve I have in presentations. I advise presenters to avoid beginning an answer to a question from the audience with “Great question.”

    To me, this implies that some audience questions are better than others, and may cause hurt feelings in the group. Just something for you to consider. 

    Happy speaking, and happy selling to all.


    Vinnie Pietrafesa
    Vinnie Pietrafesa's picture

    Vincent Pietrafesa is Director of Business Development at BusinessWatch Network, a proud board member of DMCNY and the rising-star comedian Vincent James. Reach him at

  • Thirty Steps from "Yesterday's Subscription Marketing" to "Today's Customer Convenience"

    Publishing and subscription marketing panel with Jim Fosina, CEO, Fosina Marketing Group; Barry Blumenfield, CEO/Chairman, BMI Fulfillment Services and others.

    With the explosion of the popularity of subscription services "box of the month", and others offering video, music, etc. - companies are developing innovative subscription models and services that answer the consumers wants and needs.

     Learn how to make subscription marketing programs relevant and successful in the current consumer business environment. 

    Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 11:30am
    Networking & Cocktails: 11:30am - 12:20pm
    Luncheon & Presentation: 12:20pm - 2:00pm

    Member Price: 


    Non-Member Price: 

  • A Great Time with Good People, Bring a Client or Colleague!

    "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

    - Jane Howard

    Here's a chance to come out, network with fellow members of the direct marketing community, and make new connections!

    Join DMCNY friends and colleagues on April 8. The evening kicks off at 6:00 p.m. at Hurley's. See you there!

    Register Today, Then Have a Drink on us!

    Only $25 for Members ($35 for Non-Members) gets you a free drink, plenty of hors d'oeuvres - and, of course, the chance to reacquaint yourself with the tri-state area's premier direct marketers.

    Event Sponsorship: 

    Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 6:00pm
    6:00pm - 9:00pm

    Member Price: 


    Non-Member Price: 

  • Bruce Biegel's 2015 Annual Outlook

    Once again we kicked off the New Year at DMCNY with the razor-sharp predictions of Bruce A. Biegel, Senior Managing Director of the Winterberry Group and Petsky Prunier advisor. Biegel made sense of the major forces shaping our industry in 2014 and forecasted their effects in 2015 and beyond.

    If you joined us for the January 9 luncheon, this is a must-download presentation.  For those who weren't able to make the luncheon, get a glimpse of what you missed.

    To download the presentation, the file is attached below.

    Additional coverage "In the News" 

    Target Marketing Magazine (January 12, 2015)
    "Ad Spending Will ‘Be the Highest Ever’ in 2015, Says Biegel

    Direct Marketing News (January 9, 2015) 
    "Where Will Marketing Grow in 2015"



    File attachment: 

    Biegel-2015 Annual Outlook-DMCNY.pdf2.48 MB
  • DMCNY Member News


    December, 2014

    Big congratulations to Joe Frick of Adrea Rubin Media Inc., who received Datalogix's prestigious 360A partner award for August 2014. Joe Frick, VP of Marketing and Social Media,, 646-487-3768.

    Prompt Direct recently unveiled PromptTRACK Alerts, a customizable mailer notification tool.  As mail is scanned, Prompt lets the mailer know when it reaches a particular point in its journey, for example, when delivery is imminent. Phil Catalano,

    MeritDirect, the leading provide of global multichannel marketing services, is pleased to announce the opening of a new satellite office in San Joe CA, expanding the company to the West Coast.  The operations in San Jose will be managed by Chris Blohm, Senior Vice President of Data & Media Services, and staffed by Deirdre Blohm, Vice President of Customer Acquisition & Retention.  Contact Chris Blohm at 669-231-4753 or Deirdre Blohm at 660-231-4410.

    Fosina Marketing Group celebrates quite the "giving quarter," having signed several new humanitarian non-profit clients, helping them fundraise online via sustaining giving.  The company also assisted their client Amora Coffee with going "Pink" to increase Breast Cancer Awareness.  The Fosina team also got wet and donated to ALS, and took to the links in support of the Hudson Valley Junior Achievement Golf Outling.  Ray Schneeberger, VP Sales,  203-546-5547.


    Donna Baier Stein, Brian Kurtz, and Bob Bly all spoke at the American Writers and Artists Institute 4-Day Copywriting Bootcamp in DelRay Beach FL in October.  Richard Armstrong gave the keynote address.  Donna Baier Stein,, 908-872-1775.

    The club presented its 2014 Mal Dunn Leadership Award sponsored by Alliant to Bruce Biegel, senior managing director, Winterberry Group, at a special luncheon on Thursday, September 11.  The Mal Dunn Leadership Award recognizes data-driven marketing professionals for their exemplary service to the field.

    Leon Henry Inc. is proud to announce their recertification by WBENC (The Women's Business Enterprise National Council) for the 6th year in a row.  Leon Henry Inc. is also certified as a New York State Woman Owned Business Enterprise.  Contact or call 914-285-3456. 



    To help bring our vibrant DM community closer, let us know what you and your company are up to!  Send your news to  Notices will be placed in the newsletter and online.

  • Bill Baird's picture

    DMCNY September Luncheon Notes - OmniChannel Marketing

    The September presentation by Paradysz and PM Digital’s co-founder and co-CEO Chris Paradysz and VP, Advisory Services Michael McVeigh focused on the growing need for Omnichannel marketing, the related challenges marketers face, and strategies and solutions to meet those challenges.

    The top takeaways were: 

    What is Omnichannel Marketing?  It’s a strategy that builds campaigns and infrastructure from the point of view of the customer.  It fights fragmentation to achieve customer-centric foundations.  And it drives content based on unique customer behaviors and histories. 

    Why is Omnichannel Marketing Necessary? Customers are spending more than double the amount of time per day on mobile devices vs. 4 years ago, as well as doubling the number of consultations prior to purchase.  They rely on more information sources and expect a seamless buying experience across the channels closest to those sources.  Furthermore, your competitors are investing in omnichannel: 83% of marketers said they intended to invest in it in 2014. 

    Who’s Doing it Right?  One example is Skriiiex, a 26-year-old music producer and DJ who produced $16m in revenue in 2013 using a vast portfolio of social media followers, fans, subscribers and downloadable sources.  Another strong example is Macy’s, where the stores are fulfillment centers; sales reps order products for customers on line; and budgets are omnichannel (and not in silo’s). 

    The Challenges.  Challenges include the fear of the strategic overhaul that omnichannel implies.  A transition to omnichannel threatens existing separate digital and offline groups.  And fractured & isolated capabilities contradict findings across the board. 

    The Process.  The key to successfully leveraging data across all touch points is to create a comprehensive view of how customers behave from channel to channel to understand (and optimize) the experience.  

    First understand your audience – what do they care about?  What are their preferences?  Your goal is to understand these customer profiles well enough to develop a marketing recipe strategy that will drive engagement. 

    Then segment your audience and build a contact strategy for each segment. 

    How Do You Know When You Need a Dashboard?  When weekly report attachments take up over 90% of your inbox storage … and amount to more than 90% of your unread messages.  (Or if your existing dashboard can’t pass the “Fortune Cookie Test”: Are you less likely to open your dashboard than a fortune cookie … or do you find its contents less informative?)

    What is an Effective Dashboard?  It scales up to an executive level; drills down to campaign, channel and customer segment; enables you as the user to interact by time period with filters to answer questions as they occur to you; and displays Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) versus goal and budget. 

    Competitive Dashboards.  In an omnichannel environment, things change quickly.  As with your own business, you need to know how effectively your competitors are growing, engaging and retaining customers in each channel.  You need to understand how they’re doing it.  And to determine whether you should emulate what they’re doing.   You should be doing this vigilantly across channels, using competitive dashboards.  

    Multichannel Attribution.  As of November 2013, 18% of marketers were practicing sophisticated cross-channel attribution, which identifies how spending in one channel effects responsiveness in another.  As of September 2013, 2% of marketers used a combined attribution strategy to achieve omnichannel success, and this number is growing rapidly.

  • A Case for Analog in a Digital World


    June, 2012

    True, the world has gone digital. But that doesn’t mean customers no longer want to hold a catalog in their hands!  Here’s another compelling argument for integration; specifically, keeping print, and tried-and-true DM techniques, a part of your marketing mix.

    I believe that most direct marketers will find the following to be a reasonable modern definition of our profession: Direct marketing is “the monetization of data in a privacy- compliant manner.”  My argument for the continued use of analog direct marketing techniques follows from this premise.  (It’s still the data, stupid!)

    I grew up in an analog world.  I remember shared telephone “party lines” and black-and-white TV.  As a direct marketer, I remember an era before PCs, when a mail order was really an order placed though the mail.  

    Today, most of the articles in print and online are about the importance of having a “social media strategy.”  That is the world of direct marketing in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

    But I will argue that direct marketers who ignore print and the tried-and-true techniques like recency, frequency, monetary (RFM) analyses are leaving money on the table.  Consumers who buy direct have shifted how they buy (more online and less by phone or mail), but not what they buy.  And they still want to have a trusted relationship with companies and buy products and services that are relevant to their own unique lives.

    Print and RFM still work

    Direct marketing has always been about monetizing data by targeting customer preferences.  RFM still works – digitally and in print.  Case in point: I mailed a small catalog, with an equally small circulation (30,000) this past fall.  The response rate was off the charts.  And the results were as predicted by our RFM analysis: The most dollars came in from the most recent buyers, followed by the multi-buyers and finally customers with the largest prior purchases.  The catalog, with fully loaded costs, generated a

    handsome profit.  True, more customers ordered online than in the prior year, but I am certain that, without ensuring those customers had a catalog in-hand, the total profit would have been less. 

    Why?  The slim-jim sized book, with a compelling cover, got the attention of a ready buyer increasingly deluged with online offers.  The catalog stood out from the crowd as something concrete the customer could hold in his or her hand.

    For that reason, I am of the opinion that adding mail offers to your marketing mix can actually get your products or services more attention these days.

    Should you add print to your mix?  Test it and see.

    Should every direct marketer be in print today?  Probably not; however, I would argue that most should – and you will never know whether you should mail until you simply test it.

    And that doesn’t have to cost you too much.  Printers are creating more ways to make ink-on-paper competitive with other ways to reach customers.  Co-mailing alone has made it possible to put more catalogs in the mail profitably.

    Finally, here’s a strong argument for testing a print run: Even Amazon and Google – who are no-doubt the most successful of the pure-play digital marketers – are testing print.

    Multi-channel becomes omnichannel

    The most successful direct marketers understand that you must meet your current and prospective customers where they are.  And there are customers who still prefer to view products and services in print, even if their preferred ordering vehicle is online.  There are buyers who would prefer to speak with a live, knowledgeable customer service representative before placing an order, and finally, there are still people who will send in a mail order.  We must not ignore these individual preferences!

    I am a big champion of social media, and agree that direct marketers who ignore that important vehicle do so at their peril.  However, I’m also convinced that ignoring traditional direct marketing practices will result in lost profits.

    Consider expanding your multichannel marketing to embrace some tried-and-true direct mail practices.  The results could surprise you – in a very good way. 


    Robert Allen
    Robert Allen's picture

    Bob Allen is President/CEO of the WindhamFoundation (,based in Grafton, Vermont.  The foundation has two operating businesses: The Grafton Inn and The Grafton Village Cheese Company.   Bob retired in 2005 after 25 years at The Vermont Country Store.  In 2010, he served as Interim CEO of the Direct Marketing Association in New York.  Reach him at

  • Two Vital Issues Affecting Direct/Digital Marketers – and How to Take Action


    June, 2012

    Although direct/digital marketers continually navigate marketing challenges online and offline, two major issues loom that could undermine the very nature of doing business.  Here’s a breakdown of their possible impact – and tips for what you can do right now to help.

    For decades, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has been supporting the marketing community on critical legislative issues, securing many recent wins, including:

    • Standing up for marketers in the face of proposed privacy legislation, including calls for a federal “Do Not Track” registry
    • Beginning enforcement to ensure industry compliance with the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising
    • Successfully fighting an attempt to raise postage by 10 times the rate of inflation 

    But this is only the beginning. The challenges we still face include two major ongoing issues:

    Data privacy

    Privacy legislation is one of the hottest topics among politicians. Senators Kerry and McCain have introduced a privacy bill in the Senate, as have Reps. Stearns, Rush, and Speier in the House. DMA is at the forefront of the fight to ensure that any proposed legislation protects the growth of the Internet, protects the information that fuels it (and offline direct marketing), and ensures that the marketing innovation that drives the US economy continues.

    Self-regulation is the most effective way to respond to privacy issues related to marketing and advertising. For this reason, DMA partnered with other associations to launch the Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising, which gives consumers a better understanding of and greater control over ads that are customized based on their online behavior.

    The Program calls for interest-based ads to include an “Advertising Option Icon” that links consumers to information about online behavioral advertising and allows them to make choices about the interest-based ads they receive.

    What you can do

    • Make sure your organization is leading the way in complying with the Self-Regulatory Program. Learn everything you need to know at
    • Periodically check DMA’s Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice, which provide generally accepted principles of conduct, and are the basis for DMA’s self-regulatory program.  To access the Guidelines, which are constantly updated to reflect innovations and new best-practices employed by the marketing community, visit
    • Access DMA’s educational opportunities.  We have launched a new, comprehensive course and certification for marketers who use, access, and live in the world of data and information.  Upon completion of The Institute for Marketing Data Governance and Certification, attendees will be armed with the most current information and guidelines on marketing data governance.  To register, and for more information, visit and click on DM Essentials.

    Postal Reform

    DMA for years has supported downsizing and streamlining the Postal Service to render its day-to-day operations more cost-effective.  On April 25, the Senate voted 62 to 37 in favor of passing the 21st Century Postal Service Act (S.1789). The Senate took a very important step in passing this bill.  Without postal reform legislation like S. 1789, the USPS will continue to lose $30 million a day.  Your organizations – both for-profit and nonprofit – need meaningful postal reform NOW.

    On May 9, the USPS announced a new plan for retaining retail postal operations and reducing costs in rural America.  The plan would keep existing post offices open, but modify their retail window hours to

    match customer use. DMA supports creation of the plan.

    What you can do

    • If your Senators took the important step of supporting postal reform, please thank them for their important votes.  Go to the DMA Action Center at and click on “Tell the Senate You’re Glad They Passed Postal Reform.”

    On these vital issues, as well as a wide range of policy and political issues affecting the direct marketing community, DMA’s Government Affairs team constantly works to ensure that marketers’ interests are

    advanced and protected. To find out more about their work, go to or email


    Linda Woolley
    Linda Woolley's picture

    Linda A.Woolley is the acting president and CEO of the Direct Marketing Association.  DMA today represents nearly 2,500 companies in the US and 48 other nations, including a majority of the Fortune 100 companies.  Prior to becoming president and CEO, Woolley served as DMA’s executive vice president of Washington Operations. In this role, she was responsible for strategically managing DMA’s global advocacy, legislative, and political efforts, as well as DMA’s Nonprofit Federation, Internet Alliance, and Mail Moves America coalition.  She was also responsible for overseeing DMA’s corporate and social responsibility. Through Woolley’s leadership, DMA was a founding member of the Digital Advertising Alliance, a self-regulatory program that provides notice and choice to consumers about online behavioral advertising.  Reach her at

  • 28th Annual ‘Silver Apples’ Recognizes Industry’s Best


    January, 2013

    As everyone on Broadway knows, in New York, the show must go on!  Hurricane Sandy may have forced the move of the 2012 Silver Apple Gala to the evening of January 24, 2013, but the show went on—as a sell-out.

    The stage lights were shining bright and warm inside the Edison Ballroom, where a packed house of more than 250 extended their congratulations to this year’s Silver Apple recipients – Scott Fenwick, Jim Fosina, Don Hinman, Harvey Markovitz, Pegg Nadler, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, as well as corporate Silver Apple recipient McVicker & Higginbotham, and Golden Apple honoree Leon Henry.

    The Silver Apples honor practitioners in our field – individuals and a corporate contributor who have given 25 years to the betterment of measurable, accountable direct and interactive marketing, all the while showing leadership, vision, passion and commitment. The Special Golden Apple recognizes a half century of service. As Direct Marketing Club of New York president Cyndi Lee stated, “These are inspirational leaders who motivate others to embrace great marketing ideas and lead their teams toward success.”

    Since the first Silver Apples were named in 1985, approximately 225 Silver Apple honors have been bestowed by DMCNY.

    It’s perhaps this very inspiration that also gave the festive evening a somber undertone, in that a longtime leader in our field – the Silver Apple and Golden Apple recipient Lee Epstein – passed away just one day before the gala. James Prendergast, in the evening’s invocation, dedicated the evening to Lee, and quoted Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” 

     “Lee was an ambassador, an educator and a friend – a gentle giant whose door was never closed,” Prendergast said.  Throughout the evening, several recipients invoked a personal and professional testament to Lee, crediting his mentorship and contributions to our marketing discipline, and to his friendship and philanthropy. [The Epstein family has established The Lee and Rose Lansman Epstein Scholarship at The City College Fund, 160 Convent Avenue, Shepard Hall, Room 166, New York, NY 10031;]

    The event being held at the Great White Way, it was also fitting that Co-MCs Joseph Furgiuele (a past honoree) and Pamela Haas kicked the award-giving off with their own Frank Sinatra-like renditions of My Way and New York, New York – with lyrics politely rewritten to toast the Silver Apples. 

    The party was on! Ralph Stevens, a Golden Apple recipient himself in 2011, took the podium to present Leon Henry a Golden Apple for his more than 50 years of service. In his acceptance remarks, Leon noted that when he began in package inserts, there were hardly any competitors. Today, there are more than 2,000 insert distributors, Leon said.  Talk about innovating your way into a niche, and helping to give birth to an entire marketing channel. Leon also had received a Silver Apple in 1992, and his firm Leon Henry Inc., where he is chairman, received the corporate honor in 2006.

    And speaking of entrepreneurs, Pam presented the evening’s first Silver Apple to Jim Fosina, founder and chief executive officer of Fosina Marketing Group. Jim acknowledged Lee Epstein as an “icon and innovator” but also thanked Leon Henry, Arthur Blumenfield and – from Jim’s days at Grolier Enterprises – Dante Cirilli, whom he singled out for showing him how to pick a winning team. “I love accountability. I love the way we stay ahead of the wave of consumer purchase behavior,” said Jim, who also credited his family. “My parents taught me to change my way of believing and doing from ‘I think I can’ to ‘I know I can… and I will’.”

    Martha Rogers, Ph.D., accepted the Silver Apple on behalf of herself and Don Peppers, founding partners of Peppers & Rogers Group, and authors of nine books that have sold more than 1 million copies.  What people may not know is that their 20+-year collaboration began with a 90-second conversation, and that Don had been educated as an aeronautical engineer. Martha also noted the date they first met – January 21, 1990, or “one-two-one” 1990. [Yes, that was Dick Cavett in the room – he is Martha’s husband.]

    Silver Apples honoree Pegg Nadler, president, Pegg Nadler Associates, Inc., did her best to blame everyone else for her being named a recipient this year: her husband, Michael; the past presidents of the DMCNY (who name the Silver Apples recipients each and every year, led by Reggie Brady); past employers Abrams Books, Hadassah, and Metromail among others; the Direct Marketing Association (full-time work at volunteer pay); and past recipients Reggie Brady and Ruth Stevens. Yet the biggest cheer came when the self-proclaimed “database princess” credited the “database queen” Bernice Grossman as her chief source for learning. For the Silver Apple honor, Pegg says she now forgives them all.

    It would take a column twice this long for the list of thank you’s from Professor Harvey Markovitz, clinical associate professor of marketing, Pace University, who noted his professional years at JC Penney, Columbia House and Broadcast Marketing Corp. He thanked most fervently Lee Epstein and William Denhard for their support in helping to launch the Interactive & Direct Marketing Lab, a student-run integrated marketing agency, first at Baruch College and later at Pace. Harvey’s students over the years have garnered more than 100 Collegiate ECHO Awards from the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation.

    Honoree Donald Hinman, Ph.D., senior vice president, data strategy, Epsilon Targeting – widely known in our business as “Dr. Data” – was “Big Data before there was Big Data,” noted Joe Furgiuele, Don having worked at Allant Professional Services, Acxiom Corporation, National Demographics & Lifestyles, Inc., as well as the Arbitron Ratings Corporation. “I’m a numbers guy,” Don said, “I’ve been to every DMA Annual for the past 29 years, and of the 225 Silver Apples recipients, I know 75 of them.” Don also credited Tim Prunk, Phillip Dresden (a Silver Apple honoree from 2000), and former Chief Marketer columnist Richard Levey (now editorial director at Aimia), all of whom were present for the occasion.

    Scott Fenwick, vice president – sales training and development, ValueClick Media, served as MC at the 2011 Silver Apples, and this year it was his turn to receive the honor. His expertise in presenting, negotiating, networking and closing the deal were on display as he shared a coaching technique from another past honoree Andrea Nierenberg:  “Everyone, stand up and reach above your heads with both hands as high as you can.” Then he asked everyone, “Now, reach two inches higher.” Scott thanked Lee Epstein for leading him to B’nai B’rith and for Scott’s subsequent involvement with DMCNY, the Direct Marketing Association of Long Island, the Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association and as an adjunct professor at New York University. Scott also noted that it was his mother who introduced him to direct marketing – she was a catalog mail order director!

    The loudest cheering section of the evening came from employees and associates of the corporate honoree, McVicker & Higginbotham, the direct-response services agency behind some of New York City’s most important non-profit institutions: the American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Metropolitan Opera and North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital, among others. Perhaps that’s because Tim Kennon leads the McVicker team as the “cheerleader” who said of his staff: “THEY MAKE ME LOOK SO GOOD!!” 

    Among the past Silver Apple honorees at the gala were Stu Boysen, Kathy Duggans-Joseph, JoAnne Manfredi Dunn, Jonah Gitlitz, Richard Goldsmith, Joseph Gomez, Henry “Hank” Hoke, Karen Isenberg (who served as the Silver Apples Gala co-chair this year with Sharon Mahoney), Marjorie Kalter, Liz Kislik, John Papalia, Brian Wolfe, Jerry Messer, Walter Neff, Chris Paradysz, Adrea Rubin, Ron Sichler and John Von Achen. Past honorees who had passed away this past year include Lee Epstein, Elliot Abrams, Arline Feigen, Neil Keating, Jon Lambert and Milt Pierce.

    For full biographies of the 2012 Silver Apple honorees, visit the DMCNY Web site:


    Chet Dalzell
    Chet Dalzell's picture

    Chet Dalzell is an independent public relations strategist and practitioner in the direct and interactive field, with more than 25 years’ experience. Reach him at

  • Canadian Law Calls for Opt-in for Email


    June, 2012

    The challenges to integrated marketing continue.  The new Canadian anti-spam law could hold dire consequences for unsuspecting American marketers.  Here’s a breakdown of what the law prohibits, and what it could mean to you if there are Canadian names on your email list.

    In 2010, Canada adopted an anti-spam law called The Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act (FISA).  The relevant regulator (CRTC) recently published its final regulations, which provide details on the required contact information and unsubscribe mechanism to be included in each commercial electronic message, and the requirements for valid consent.  The law will be effective at a date to be set by the Governor in Counsel.

    What this means for marketers

    It is wise for marketers to assume the law is effective now since a “phase-in”period of three years ran from adoption, and there are compliance steps that one should take right away.

    Here’s an important point to remember: The statute covers the “sending” of messages.  It is irrelevant whether the message gets delivered or whether the address even exists.  It is the transmission alone that will be deemed illicit.

    And a caveat: You can still use a Canadian email address without “expressed consent” until the law’s effective date, provided it is not merely a rented name but arises from an “existing business relationship” or an “existing non-business relationship.”


    Under the law, a commercial emailer must obtain the “expressed” consent of the recipient before sending commercial emails or other electronic messages, unless there is an “existing business relationship” or “an existing non-business relationship.”  For addresses on file on the effective date who have not objected and with whom you have a relationship, there is assumed “implied consent” to commercial messages for two years from the establishment of that relationship.

    A “business” relationship

    What is a “business relationship”under the law is basically a matter of common sense.  The statute defines the relationship in terms of actions or messages relating to actions.  Generally, if it feels like business, it’s a business relationship.  A business relationship includes enquiries also, but only for a duration of six months per each relationship.

    The “non-business relationship” is similarly a matter of common sense.  The non-business relationship might have involved a donation or a charitable gift made within the previous two years, such as to a political party, charity or a candidate for public office.


    Some exceptions to the law exist for marketers.  They include:

    • Responding to a request for a quote
    • Employment-related matters  
    • Information regarding a subscription, membership, or maintenance arrangement of the addressee
    • Information regarding delivery of a product or service previously ordered

    Personal messages are also exempt. 

    Sender information and unsubscribe options

    Disclosure is required of the name and contact information of the sending company, and the company on whose behalf it is being sent.  There must be an easy means to object, ie,“readily contact” the sender for 60 days from transmission.  A phone number or an email unsubscribe mechanism should be acceptable to meet this requirement.

    There must also be an unsubscribe mechanism in the email.  This can be a link to a website or an email reply mechanism or “any other electronic means that will enable the person to indicate the wish.”  The industry in Canada believes a phone number would be acceptable as well.

    Painted with a broad brush

    Be forewarned that the statute is not just about email spam, but any “commercial electronic message,” and any message via telecommunication, landline or mobile, such as text, sound, voice, image, IM, or “any similar account.”  Presumably, that would include social media venues as well.

    Dire consequences

    Noncompliance with this law can bring dire consequences. The law has penalties of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses. The fines are “per violation,”and there are grounds to believe

    that a campaign mailed over a multi-day period would draw a penalty for each day.  Thus a three-day campaign might cost a company $30 million.

    Be forewarned that there is also a private “right of action” for any individual or business that has been affected by a violation.  Take heed: Corporate officers and directors can be held personally liable for violations.

    Industry sources believe that these penalties were intended for the worst spammers, but the courts will ultimately decide who that is.  Of course, if you have no physical presence in Canada, it may be that any

    lawsuit against you in Canada would not be sustainable.  It is doubtful that you could be sued in a US court under the Canadian law. 

    However, it is unclear whether a “penalty” assessed against your company in Canada might not receive enforcement by a US court.  It’s best to play it safe.

    Any US company with a database of addresses obtained without affirmative consent, such as rented lists or gathered addresses, should consider determining the physical locations of those addresses – and obtain consent from Canadian residents.  Obviously, “.ca” domains are Canadian, but the national location of addresses with gmail or domains like “.int,” “.post,” “.co” – the list goes on – could be anywhere.  Protect yourself. 


    Charles Prescott
    Charles Prescott's picture

    Charles Prescott is a consultant and attorney specializing in marketing, privacy and international postal matters.  He primarily represents companies seeking to enter new country markets.  Previously with the US DMA as VP, international business development, he isnow on its board of directors.  Reach him at +1.914.533.0208 or