October 30, 2009

My Time at DMA 2009

The 2009 Direct Marketing Association (DMA09) conference came and went like the morning fog in San Diego. My time at this year’s conference can be easily divided in to one of two buckets, manning our exhibit (and here’s some picture proof) or trying to remotely help my client who was gracious enough to let me go for two days in the middle of a project; so as you can imagine, I didn’t get to take as many exhibits or sessions as I had wanted.

DMA Booth

However, before I get in to an overview of my time at the DMA09, I’d like to call out my pre-conference user experience. I received approximately 30 pieces of direct mail and many more emails (only fitting for a show with the key word “Marketing” in it). Although, being the marketing consultant that I am I did in fact read almost each one. It was pretty much your standard conference marketing fair ‘Come to Booth #### and enter to win a XXXX’. Yet, the one item that stuck out to me was the Memo Dot. My interest in it was not for its marketing presentation (which I found to be average), but for the product itself. I recognize it wouldn’t be right for everybody, but I selfishly saw some value in its simplicity and small footprint in an office setting…watch out Covalent Care customers 😉

My other pre-conference user experience was a bit disheartening. As a DMA member, it was hard to stay clear of the ‘Gerry Pike versus the DMA’ crossfire. First, regardless of Gerry’s message, I could only perceive his array of emails as SPAM because I never gave him permission to email me. That being said, I’m all for the DMA being given a wake-up call, fresh voices of change who are not happy with the status quo and those who strive for something greater; yet do the ends justify the means…only if you don’t mind being a hypocrite.

On to the show! While I had never exhibited at the DMA Conference before I was pleased with the variety of people who dropped by our booth for a chat. We had many engaging conversations with current clients, future client (hopefully) and vendors looking for strategic partnerships (excluding the litany of Customer List distributors…man, they’re like drug dealers those guys, your first score is free). The one thing that was very noticeable was that everyone in the exhibit hall had a purpose; they were at the show for a reason. I can’t recall a person who was there because they just felt like it or their company had extra budget. So while many commented on its diminished size relative to previous years, I’d retort that there was probably a higher concentration of serious marketers who came with their specific marketing goals whether it was education, looking for new vendors to help with their marketing efforts or people interested in aligning themselves with like minded individuals/firms.

Overall, I’d say the show was a success and it was well worth our time to have been there…hopefully next year I can be more dedicated to visiting and learning about other vendors.