With the industry fresh off the heels of DMA 2011, there’s no better time to put together my thoughts about the show and comment on the direction I see direct marketing heading.
First of all, it was a very exciting show. There really is no other place on the planet where direct marketers can meet and connect with all the industry leaders in one spot. I was able to spend equal amounts of time with clients, partners, and the journalists who cover our industry. Meeting with so many people outside of the DMA show would have taken weeks, and a lot of plane rides.
The exhibitors at this year’s DMA were top quality. The show is interesting in that it is one of the oldest trade shows that I’m aware of. It’s amazing to see how many loyal trade show exhibitors are committed to the show’s success, and have maintained a consistent presence for the last 10 years. With the DMA, it’s all about the familiar faces, and it’s nice to see companies continuing to exhibit year after year at the actual show.
As far as the future of the DMA, I’m going to come right out and say I’d like to see a few changes made. Given the show’s longevity, it ends up attracting a lot of people who have been there forever, companies with solid products, but there was not a great presence of technology innovators. I’d like that to change. It would be great to see more technology companies exhibit at the show, companies like Marketfish and Conversant, who blend new tech developments with traditional approaches to direct marketing. I’d even like to see this faction of the industry represented within the speaking panels, and within the overall leadership and involvement of the DMA. I tried to get onto the board this year, but was unsuccessful, perhaps next voting cycle. In short, the industry as a whole is beginning to shift, and the show and its leadership need to reflect that.
In spite my desire to see DMA continue to evolve, it’s always great to meet a legend. Hands down, my favorite part of DMA 2011 was meeting with Ed Mallin. Having worked in direct marketing for the last 27 years, and holding leadership positions with Infogroup for the last 20+ years, including spearheading the company’s numerous acquisitions, I consider him one of the “godfathers of direct marketing.” So having him stop by the booth to see our platform and like what we do was pretty exciting.
All in all, I’m extremely excited for next year’s show. We’ll be there in 2012 with an even bigger presence. I encourage everyone out there who is on the fence to go ahead and attend, it’s worth it. If you were at this year’s show, please share your thoughts and leave a comment.