Attendees Have Mixed Reaction to NCDM Conference

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ORLANDO, FL -- Worthless, self-serving, boring, repetitive, helpful and educational were a few of the adjectives used by attendees at National Center for Database Marketing Conference & Exhibition here yesterday to describe sessions they attended.

"There is nothing interesting here for me to go to," said one attendee, who did not want to be identified. "Either they are speaking so broadly or too specific and what they are saying can not be related to anyone's business but their own."

Lori Terzopoulos, marketing database analyst at American Century Investments, Kansas City, who was attending her first NCDM show, said the first of two sessions she attended was helpful but the second one was not.

"The first session was helpful for me and I learned quite a bit," she said. "The second one I went to was worthless. He spoke of nothing specific and talked more about how he could do it instead of how we could do it. He didn't deviate from his case study and it felt like he was selling his product the whole time instead of explaining something to us."

The session she was referring to was "How to Improve Response Rates for Financial Products."

The audiences for the sessions ranged from totally full to almost empty. In some cases there was a lot of audience participation while in others some people were leaving early while others stayed but were playing with their laptops in the back of the room.

Vendors on the exhibit floor described traffic as ranging from excellent to moderate. And depending on who you asked, the quality of leads they were coming across ranged from good to poor.

"I have no complaints about our location and the traffic has been exceptional," said K. Lynne Cramer, account executive at Webcraft, Tampa, FL. "The group of people coming up to us has also been very inquisitive and so far we have been doing very good business."

Michael Stoltz, central region solutions team at IBM, Crestwood, KY, said industry exhibitors need to help guide people around the show floor more effectively instead of letting them wander aimlessly.

"We could do a better job at connecting people to where they need to go around the floor," he said. " We should make sure they know where they are going and what they need to do and who they need to see. Tell them this vendor can provide you with a process and ths is a tool that can help you with what you are trying to do."

But Alexis Thomas, marketing communications manager at Cyber Dialogue, said the crowd at this show was better informed here than they were at the Chicago show.

"The leads and people here are more qualified than they were in Chicago," she said. "They are also a lot more Internet savvy here as well."

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