IN A BID TO REINFORCE the growing professionalism of the dm industry, the Institute of Direct Marketing plans to restrict its membership to those with relevant academic qualifications. At present, associate membership of the Institute requires only two years experience in direct marketing and full membership five years. An action plan is being drawn-up to switch recruitment focus to those with marketing degrees or diplomas or MBAs - each of which currently counts towards the required period of experience. However, the body will not close its doors to those lacking academic qualifications but will demand a longer and more rigorous empirical background. Says IDM chairman George Smith: 'The Institute does not intend to become a cosy club. We need to become more demanding of ourselves and our members.'