DMA Honors Memory of Robert Delay, Past President and Industry Veteran
(Press release, Feb. 17, 2015) — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) was saddened to learn that industry veteran Robert "Bob" DeLay passed away on Friday, Feb. 14, at the age of 96. DeLay served as president of DMA and its predecessor organizations for more than 26 years, spanning from 1959 to 1984. Inducted into DMA's Hall of Fame in 1988, he also played a key role in the launch of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation in 1966.
"As president of DMA for an unprecedented 26 years, Bob's vision for direct marketing transcended direct mail to include all forms of marketing and advertising around the world," said JoAnne Monfradi Dunn, CEO of Alliant and president of the DMA Board of Directors. "As a result of Bob's work, DMA stands as the world's largest marketing trade association. Today, we honor Bob's legacy as DMA fulfills its mission to advance and protect data-driven marketing on behalf of responsible marketers everywhere."
In his capacity as president of DMA, DeLay traveled extensively and delivered speeches in most major cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. In the 1960s, he led the organization to work closely with the U.S. Postal Service to convert mailing lists with the new ZIP codes. In the 1970s, he spearheaded a new public relations program to establish data-driven marketing as a major marketing medium. DeLay and staff members participated in hundreds of radio and TV appearances, including "60 Minutes." Recognition of this "major new advertising medium" brought several White House invitations and visits with three U.S. presidents.
"Bob has left an indelible mark on DMA through his leadership and vision that guided the association through remarkable growth and global expansion as the definition of direct marketing evolved to represent the entire multifaceted direct-marketing field," said Thomas Benton, DMA CEO. "Under Bob's leadership, DMA adopted its self-regulatory Guidelines for Ethical Business Practice and consumer choice programs that continue to this day. I am proud and humbled to be carrying on Bob's legacy as DMA continues its leadership role advancing and championing the ever-evolving data-driven marketing community."