Danes Learn About Networking American Style at DMA·05

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ATLANTA -- You never would have guessed: There are 65 Danes attending DMA·05.


Denmark has one of the biggest foreign delegations at this largest gathering of direct marketers worldwide. What's the charm for the Danes?


"It's partly networking, partly being inspired over the next few days," said Jacob Stene, project manager for DONG A/S, Horsholm, Denmark. "The best thing is the opportunity to choose from the many different sessions."


Stene's company is known more by its acronym and less by its name, Danish Oil and Natural Gas. This is his second DMA annual show after last year's event in New Orleans. He is here with two other members of the DMK, the Danish Direct Marketing Klub.


The Danish delegation to the DMA annual show has grown steadily over the past 10 years. This is year one for Kirsten Dinesen, managing director of relationship marketing agency Draft Denmark. Her shop handles the DONG account. The trip to Atlanta mainly is educational.


"Because it's a great opportunity to get a better knowledge of the American market," Dinesen said. "I feel that the DMA has a very American focus, but at the same time, when America is the mother of direct marketing, we can learn a lot and get inspired."


Her 55-person agency handles other accounts like Johnson & Johnson's Compeed liquid solution for blisters, Electrolux Professional for laundry and kitchen systems and the TNT delivery service.


What struck Dinesen about DMA·05?


"All the exhibitors," she said. "We haven't got that industry in Denmark because the number of people is small, so the [service] providers have to spread out in all areas [of marketing].


"I learned something about hotels in Las Vegas," Dinesen said. "And I noticed in the U.S. it's very important to mention everybody."


She was referring to yesterday's opening keynote speakers. Casino owner Steve Wynn centered his talk on his two Las Vegas properties, the Bellagio and the Wynn. And DMA president/CEO John A. Greco Jr. thanked or mentioned every outgoing and incoming member of the association's board of directors.


Dinesen was one of many Draft executives attending the show from overseas.


"One of the things I keep noticing year after year is the international presence keeps growing," said Dasher Lowe, executive vice president and managing director of Draft Chicago. "I think we have more people from Draft internationally than we do from our New York and Chicago offices."


Take Christina Knight and Kristin Enersen. They are from Draft Sweden in Stockholm. Knight is creative director and copywriter and her colleague is an account director. This is their first DMA annual show.


Knight is here to collect an Echo award for a client that is no longer with the agency. The other reason to visit is to hobnob.


"Partly it's meeting with the [Draft] network," Knight said. "Sweden is isolated in Europe. Although we stay in contact with our colleagues, it's useful to meet and interact with them. Also to meet with other people in direct marketing.


"It's important to know there's been a recession in Sweden, like the rest of Europe," she said. "We notice a difference over the past two or three years that budgets are more limited, that marketing directors are under more pressure to show results, which has made direct marketing more interesting."


This writer told Knight and Enersen that he gets to write about Sweden only when the Absolut marketing teams visit the DM News office once a year and when IKEA breaks new ads. Yours truly also recalled the time Sweden Post sent a CD of Abba as a thank-you gift for a story. So all the Swedish clichés were there to see.


"Too bad we're not tall and blonde," Knight said.


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