Dutch DM show expected to draw 4,500 attendees

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MAASTRICHT, the Netherlands - This year's Dutch DM Congress, held here September 27-29, is expected to draw 4,500 attendees and 120 exhibitors.

Most of the exhibitors at the show are Dutch with a sprinkling from Belgium and Germany. Some 500 attendees will be students invited for a "college" day at the show.

Three of the speakers will be Americans - William Knocke, author of "The Hyper-Connected Corporation" and "Bold New World," D. Quinn Meills from the Harvard Business School and DM guru James Rosenfield.

"The theme this year won't focus on media or other direct marketing methods, " Herbert Haay, deputy director of the Dutch direct marketing association, DMSA, said, "but on how you can organize DM processes in your company. It's a shift from tools to organizational aspects."

A day will be devoted to presentation of "all the research we have done over the past year transformed into useful and practice advice," Haay said.

Much of the research focused on the Internet where DMSA conducted a $2,00 project together with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Another project dealt with telemarketing, still an exploding field in the Netherlands where much of the call center revolution originated.

"We wanted to know exactly how many times average households in the Netherlands are called by telemarketers. We found that on average people `18 and up where called 3.4 times a year by a call center," Haay said.

"That means telemarketing intrusion into households isn't anywhere near as high as some people content. We also noticed that people are calling more from home to buy product or get information - 7 times a year on average."

E-commerce will also take center stage in Maastricht, as it is in all DM meetings this year. It's a big issue in the Netherlands because the Web has been growing so fast.

DMSA expect spending on the Internet this year to top 1.2 billion guilders (about $600 million), up from 400 million guilders ($200 million) last year.

With a lot of that money flowing abroad for purchase of books, CDs and other Internet products, many to US sites, taxation is becoming a major issue in Holland, specifically, the government wants to impose a Value Added Tax on these transactions but doesn't yet know how.

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