*Fewer Attendees at German Show's Conferences

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DUESSELDORF, Germany -- The conference part of this year's DIMA, the annual German direct marketing show, drew substantially fewer attendees than last year -- 1,300 vs. 1,600.

This year's program was much more ambitious, featuring 200 hours of programming divided into 11 tracks that covered everything from e-commerce -- clearly the hot topic -- to customer relationship management, cyber customer care, fundraising, call centers and mail-order business. It also featured high carat keynote speakers like Philip Kottler, professor at the University of Illinois, and Kevin Kelly, editor at large for Wired. Both men were paid $50,000 each. The show closes this evening.

Declining numbers, "give us cause for concern," said Holgar Albers, managing director of DDV, the German DMA. "Are we doing the right thing for this market? We'll have to figure out what worked and what didn't. In future congresses, we will have to frame the program in such a way as to meet the wishes of those who take part in them."

Still, he added, 1,300 aren't that bad a number.

He also said one reason for the decline could be the competition of the show itself.

"We had a lot of new people who attended or exhibited for the first time and they may have had different priorities," Albers said. "I have a feeling they may have wanted to divide their time differently and perhaps pay more attention to networking than going to events at the congress."

One suggestion that appeared in the magazine W&V show daily may be taken to heart: "Maybe it should be a little bit smaller."

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