‘The longest journey starts with a single step,’ as the old Chinese proverb has it. And the single step taken this week by the UK’s Direct Marketing Association and Institute of Sales Promotion could lead to eventual merger, some onlookers believe.

The joint announcement of the DMA’s endorsement of the ISP’s Certificate in Promotional Marketing and its Diploma programme is on the face of it a very small step indeed. But it has far reaching implications as the trend toward fully integrated marketing continues to advance.

The concordat also includes a range of projects that strengthen and promote self-regulatory standards and best practice across the promotional marketing industry. It additionally offers specially discounted ISP membership to all DMA members.

Says ISP director general Edwin Mutton: “We are delighted that the DMA has seen merit in supporting our Certificate and Diploma programmes, which have seen thousands of agency staff further their education and develop key skills for a successful marketing career over the past fifteen years.”

DMA managing director James Kelly concurred: “The DMA has actively sought to work with like-minded organisations on joint products and services that provide added benefits to our membership and help raise industry standards. It makes sense to share resources and work together on those activities that extend reach and representation into areas that overlap.

In the spirit of the ‘big tent’ concept promulgated by the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising [WAMN: 06-Aug-02], both men believe their initiative blazes a trail for other communications industry bodies.

“We believe this should set an example of how different marketing bodies can work together on behalf of their individual membership and the wider marketing industry,” says Kelly.

Data sourced from: DMA (UK); additional content by WARC staff