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Oct 23, 2006
Event Wrap-up

Wrap-up Notes From DMA06: Attendees' Top 3 Pain Points

SUMMARY: More than 10,000 postal direct marketers descended on San Francisco for last week's DMA06, an event known more for mingling and networking than anything else.

We networked. We mingled. Here’s what was on attendees’ minds. Includes useful hotlinks:
Show notes by Stacy Cornell, MarketingSherpa Customer & Editorial Development Manager

Networking Frenzy:

It’s no wonder that the DMA’s fall show is viewed as *the* DM show to be at … mainly because everyone else is there, too. Last week’s conference in San Francisco did not disappoint.

More than a few marketing deals were made between trips to swanky bars and even while scouring the city on a scavenger hunt. Most likely, light Expo Hall traffic was due to the parties and events put on by exhibiting companies.

Attendees and vendors alike also groused about the bad location of the Interactive Pavilion, which was consigned to another wing of the Moscone Convention Center.

Though the conference is more for B-to-C marketers, the DMA does devote many sessions to B-to-B and other verticals. Email, mobile and search also had their own tracks this year.

Outside of the breakout sessions and on the Expo Hall floor, small groups of marketers huddled, slapped each other on the back and scribbled frantic, tiny notes on the backs of business cards.

More Postal Pain:

Almost every catalog marketer at the show mentioned, with more than a little distain, the *colossal* U.S. Postal Service booth. Instead of impressing them with their racing simulator, doubtful actors and postal service totes, marketers were annoyed at the extravagance in light of rate increases that suck more of their budget.

One marketer remarked that she would like to send the postal service a box of promotional pieces instead of payment for one of her mailings.

Integration: Who’s Dragging Their Feet?

Most marketers talked about increasing their integrated campaigns, but most traditional direct marketers acknowledged that their companies were slow to adopt these tactics. In fact, when pressed on the issue, eight out of 10 admitted that integrated marketing was not going to happen in their companies without a considerable fight.

Several particularly large insurance marketers described their companies as “archaic” in their attitudes toward new markets and described both their Web sites and email campaigns as “fairly pathetic.”

Among newer attendees, however, was an optimism that this would change and that they would be able to convince their more entrenched colleagues with the statistics that they were armed with from the conference’s sessions on integration.

AOL Postmaster Charles Stiles remarked on the importance of adopting integrated marketing strategies as quickly as possible: “In business, it is not the big that eats the small. It is the quick that eat the slow. It is just that simple.”

Although massive whining was heard about postal rates, this year’s 5.4% average postal rate increase (actually the first since 2002) doesn’t come close to the 18% cost-per-click increase that search marketers have seen in the last 12 months, according to MarketingSherpa data.

The overall feeling was one of disappointment in the importance placed on integrated marketing. The isolation of the Interactive Pavilion was made even more puzzling since the DMA projects the Internet and email marketing to enjoy the greatest growth rate for 2007.

One longtime DMA attendee from the travel industry suggested that the separation may have been a manifestation of the philosophy presented at many of the sessions. His overall impression was that while the keynote speakers were fantastic, the DMA needs to do more to embrace integrated marketing in their sessions in order to stay relevant.

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