Letter From the CEO - December 2013

by Julie Coons on Dec 17, 2013 3:56:00 PM Monthly ERA Update

As we say goodbye to 2013, I’d like to highlight the accomplishments that the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) has made throughout the past 12 months. Membership in ERA finished the year strong, with membership dues revenue up 6.2 percent over 2012. What’s more, 20 companies celebrated 20+ years as ERA members. This is a testament to the industry leaders’ commitment to being role models in advertising self-regulation. On behalf of the ERA Board and staff, I salute them for their support and dedication to ERA and the industry. Continuing to deliver the best networking opportunities in the industry, the 2013 ERA D2C Convention in September attracted more C-level marketing executives than it did in 2012. We welcomed more than 3,500 attendees, more than 130 exhibiting companies, and 36 sponsors.

One highlight of the conference was the introduction of Masters Series learning sessions, which provided high-level educational content during all three days of the conference. Members have expressed delight at the exceptional quality and relevance of the content delivered this year, and our record attendance at the sessions reflects this. You can count on ERA to continue to build on this year’s conference successes.

Working with member companies, we continued to convene the CEOs of the largest firms in the industry for twice-annual CEO Summits. At D2C, we also held the first meeting of CEOs for our smaller member companies, naming it the CEO Club. We look forward to continuing to work with the senior executive leadership of the industry to ensure quality peer-to-peer engagement, and focusing on issues that impact the industry’s bottom line.

In addition, the ERA Government Affairs team worked diligently in 2013 to address the industry’s most pressing legislative issues, including:

  • The Online Sales Tax. As active members of the True Simplification of Taxation Coalition (TruST), ERA witnessed encouraging developments regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act, the primary legislative vehicle for an online sales tax. Due to a consistent, effective effort on the part of ERA and its TruST partners, the legislation’s momentum has halted in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House leadership has shown limited interest in pursuing the issue, while the Republican chairman of the committee with jurisdiction in the matter has expressed reservations about the bill’s language. As always, ERA will update members as developments arise.
  • Industry Guidelines. This year, the association addressed FTC actions with a proposed update to the ERA Marketing Guidelines for Electronic Retailers. Earlier in the year, the FTC announced its intention to broaden the scope of enforcement to cover not only marketers, but also suppliers such as media buyers, credit card processors, and other back-end companies, referring to these suppliers as “choke points” in an effort to shut down bad actors. The ERA Government Affairs Committee responded proactively with a proposed update of industry guidance that simplified advice to the industry while applying the same rules for truthful and substantiated advertising claims across all media.
  • Self-Regulation. With the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program’s (ERSP) 10-year anniversary approaching, ERSP and ERA leaders have been brainstorming ways to expand ERSP services. One area of significant effort is an expansion in the program’s telemarketing review and lead-generation monitoring, with full product implementation expected in early 2014. In addition, ERSP is developing a service to help marketers identify red-flag issues in direct response campaigns that might not be readily apparent to marketers in early-stage development.

As we have for more than 20 years, ERA will continue to work every day to help members grow the industry. Whether it’s expanding business-development opportunities, ensuring that self-regulation efforts stay relevant, or stepping up our investment in legislative and regulatory advocacy, rest assured that ERA is committed to your success now, and well beyond the New Year!

Happy Holidays from all of us at ERA!

Julie Coons's blog
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The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.