Is the ERA/ERSP Government Affairs Fly-In vital to your direct response marketing business? The answer should be a decisive yes! Why? The Fly-In shines a spotlight on the most critical issues affecting the industry today and puts you in front of the government regulators and Congressional leaders whose decisions could have a dramatic impact on current and future legislation.
The ERA/ERSP Government Affairs Fly-In 2018 will take place on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Venable LLP headquarters in Washington, D.C.
This one-day conference combines two key events: the ERSP Self-Regulation Summit and ERA Government Affairs Fly-In. Don’t miss your opportunity to play a key role in securing the industry’s future, while protecting your own DR business against legislation that may impact your bottom line. What’s more, you’ll have a chance to network with other high-level direct response executives.
When ERA asked Jennifer De Marco, general counsel at Allstar Products Group, what she likes most about the Fly-In, De Marco says, “The access to regulators at the FTC, State Attorney General offices, ERSP and the top expert outside counsel in the field are incomparable.” She adds, “There is no other place where you can get face to face with those who are so influential in the industry.”
Ed Glynn, partner at Locke Lord LLP, has been attending the Fly-In since its inception and is very adamant about the critical nature of such an event.
“My interest in the Fly-In is obvious. As a longtime Federal Trade Commission Enforcement lawyer, I am very interested in the current Commission view of the important issues confronting the direct response industry. But it goes beyond that,” says Glynn. “Those of us who are involved on a full-time basis with the industry can profit, I believe, from hearing the opinions of people outside the industry. Those opinions are, on occasion, formed not by the actions of the large majority of DR participants who are firmly committed to providing value for the consumers’ hard-earned dollar. Sometimes, some high-profile fraudulent activity can steal attention away from the ‘good guys’ and attract attention, which can depress sales across the board.
“On a personal basis,” he continues, “the fact that the event is attended by a very large percentage of C-suite level participants, who then get to mingle on an informal basis with the industry regulators at both federal and state levels, makes this event unique in the annual DR industry meeting schedule.”
Paradigm Direct CEO Steve Thorne, who has been attending the GA Fly-In for the past five to six years, says his company belongs to several associations and networking groups. However, when it comes to the Fly-In, he holds this industry event in high regard.
He says, “As far as I know, there is no better event in terms of direct access to such high-level federal agency regulators. The ability to hear from them directly regarding both state and national regulatory issues is unprecedented. Couple that with the ability to query them in an intimate setting in regards to issues that relate directly to our DR business — for us, it is one of the best education events we attend all year.”
De Marco also points out that the industry needs to keep up with what’s happening up on the Hill. “If you are in the direct response space, you should be at the GA Fly-In because the legal and regulatory landscape is ever changing. The consequences for noncompliance far outweigh the commitment to being up-to-date on regulations, strategies and the outlook of the agenda for the upcoming months of the regulators," she contends.
“If you’re new to the industry,” says Glynn, “there are three things that you can expect when attending the Fly-In. First, you'll be exposed to issues, which, as an industry participant, you really need to know about before they arise in some particularly threatening format. Secondly, the overall sense of goodwill between the members of the association, including some of the most major players, and the ‘cops on the beat’ will go quite a ways to shred the erroneous notion that all the regulators are looking for a few more scalps to hang on the wall. Finally, getting to know some of these regulators on an informal basis — before any trouble arises — can facilitate an informal and early explanation of why a particular problem arose and how, as a responsible industry member, you propose to deal with it.”
What's more, if you are considering attending this event for the first time, Thorne assures you that the Fly-In is well worth your time and money.
“If you are in the direct response business, there is no way you can attend this event and not come away impressed with the type of actionable information you receive in regards to compliance and self-regulation,” he asserts. “I have invited several non-member companies to attend this event every year for the past three years — 100% of them have been impressed enough with this single event that they have chosen to make the investment to become full ERA members as a result…that should speak louder than anything.”
Vitisia "Vi" Paynich has been covering the direct response marketing industry as a writer and editor since 2001. In July 2004, she joined the Electronic Retailing Association as editor-in-chief to launch its monthly publication. After serving seven years on the magazine, Vi transitioned into the role of content manager at ERA — leading the educational programming for the association's annual D2C Convention and Great Ideas Summit. In December 2017, Vi rejoined ERA as director, content and education. Prior to joining the association in the mid-2000s, she worked in the publishing industry, serving as an editor for both B2B and consumer publications. Vi has a bachelor’s degree in Magazine Journalism from California State University at Long Beach.