After the Asia Meltdown: DMA to Focus on Latin America

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NEW YORK - Latin America's direct marketing potential in the wake of the Asian meltdown will take front and center at an emerging markets conference due to be held here on February 24.

Sponsored by the DMA's International Council the one-day event is part of a three-day DMA conference on emerging markets that will also focus on the Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American markets in the US.

Although the conference was scheduled before the Asian crisis hit, Harte-Hanke's Robert Howells, one of the organizers, pointed out that "Asian markets are under severe pressure and nobody knows quite what is going to happen there.

"Almost everybody is pulling in their horns and maildrops throughout Asia are clearly declining." Latin America in contrast, he said, "has made huge strides in stabilizing its economies and politics."

But he noted that the market "is still relatively untapped for consumer and BTB products, certainly by US companies." Cultures, he added, are very different, which is one reasons Americans have not gone south that much.

Nor has there been an "explosion of exports" from Latin America to the US which would have raised the attention of US audiences. To that extent, Howells commented, the Latins have done little to help themselves.

"So we want to see what we can do to really stimulate some interest and explain how people can exploit this market properly. We'll concentrate on Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Argentina, which is about 90 percent of the market."

Howells expects about 100 people to attend in the wake of "the quite large mailing we have done through the DMA" amounting to about 5,000 pieces.

Alejandro di Paolo, owner of a Buenos-Aires based DM agency, will lead off with an overview of Latin markets in a keynote address. Beatriz Mallory of the Hispanamerica agency will discuss different ways of entering the market.

Larry Chaido will dissect postal issues while Steven Eustace of Direct Media International will talk about Lain lists. Fernanda Marorano of Team Nash will focus on database marketing and Rob Woodruffe of Interwood in Toronto will probe DRTV growth in Latin American markets.

Case studies in the afternoon will focus on high tech, financial services, publishing and home shopping. For more information contact Jessica Summerville at the DMA - 212-768-7277 (4546 Fax)

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