THE RUNDOWN It was a year filled with thrills (the presidential election), spills (the auto industry) and bitter pills (the economy), but for direct marketers — and a growing number of traditional marketers — ROI was the unwavering focus of 2008. In DMNews’ first annual “Rundown,” we count down the biggest stories, issues and campaigns of the year. 2008 10 INDUSTRY STORIES THAT WERE MUSTREADS have also hit direct marketing — though marketers are working to stay in the game with new offers, tools and tactics. ble for making opt-out a one-step process, so consumers opting out can enter just an e-mail address to get off of a mailing list. 3. Bankruptcies 5. List squeeze Some well-known companies hit the skids in 2008, including Lillian Vernon and Sharper Image in February, Ziff Davis Media Inc. in March, Linens ‘n Things in May and Circuit City in November. Unfortunately, DMNews reporters will likely cover more such stories in 2009. 1. USPS changes The most popular DMNews stories in 2008 concerned the USPS. Whether it laid off employees, cut employee hours, or raised rates, the USPS was watching its bottom line. It also implemented interesting policy shifts, including changes to Move Update requirements. 2. The economy If Time could name “Mr. Recession” its person of the year, it probably would. Tough times In the world of lists, it seems that two heads are better than one. List company consolidation was rampant in 2008: InfoGroup — formerly InfoUSA — acquired Direct Media; ALC acquired the list management division of MKTG; and Specialists Marketing Services merged Response Media’s list management division into its business. 7. Don’t boohoo for Yahoo Yahoo yodeled its way onto an uncertain path late this year: In October, it said it would cut 10% of its work force, while days later it announced it would invest at least $100 million in a new data and customer care center. Huh? Then, Google pulled out of a long-discussed advertising services agreement, and shortly thereafter CEO Jerry Yang said he would return to his old role as “Chief Yahoo,” as soon as a replacement was named. 4. Yes, we CAN-SPAM The FTC enacted four new provisions to the original 2003 CAN-SPAM act. The result? Email marketers are now responsi- 9. They will find you Audience measurement giants Nielsen Co. and ComScore Inc. turned their penetrating gazes to mobile this year. In June, Nielsen launched @plan to measure lifestyle and demographics info for users of mobile Web sites, while ComScore acquired M:Metrics to gauge usage and behavior on the third screen. 10. Agency backs digital print 6. TJX data scandal ends The multimillion-name data breach that affected The TJX Companies Inc. didn’t officially wind down until the middle of the year. In March, the FTC reached a settlement with TJX. Next, MasterCard got TJX to agree to provide issues up to $24 million for data breach claims. Finally, in August, those nefarious hackers were charged for the crime. Google split DoubleClick Performics down the middle and sold its SEM side. 8. Speaking of Google What didn’t Google do this year? In a major move in the online ad space, Google finally completed its $3.1 billion acquisition of digital marketing company DoubleClick. The acquisition took nearly a year, including an investigation by the FTC and the European Commission, after which When holding company Omnicom partnered with computer maker Hewlett-Packard to co-pilot a global digital print supply chain, the alliance added credence to the notion that digital print is changing the way marketers can customize, personalize and globally distribute printed communications. And, with two large companies investing heavily in print, any rumors that the channel is dying were squashed.