DM Days Doubles Up On Panel Speakers, Disciplines

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In a move that reflects today's multichannel world of marketing, this week's DM Days New York Conference & Expo will feature multi-speaker panel discussions instead of single-speaker presentations in several keynote slots.

The show begins Tuesday June 20 and runs through Thursday June 22 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in midtown New York.

"Keynote presentations should be a discussion that not only energize the industry but provide deep, though provoking discussion between industry leaders and their peers," DMA director of media relations Laura Colona said.

This year's DM Days conference should be an interesting precisely because it "is a place where we can get all these different disciplines together," on-demand CRM solutions provider Loyalty Lab Inc. vice president of consulting and analytics Doug Bewsher said. "The kinds of people who are coming and who are presenting offer a confluence of classical direct marketing and the people who are exploring what is going to happen from a number of perspectives," Mr. Bewsher said.

He added that this makes it a good place to explore what multichannel convergence is all about. He is a first-time speaker at DM Days and will be participating in Tuesday's opening panel, "Convergence 2.0: Multichannel Marketing in a Digital Age."

Two multi-speaker keynotes, "Ad Agencies Speak Out - Adding Value and Measuring Results for Direct Marketers" and "The Power of Design + Empathy: The Driving Tools Behind Building Brand and Demand," will take place on June 21 morning and at lunch respectively.

Colloquy editorial director Rick Ferguson is the June 22 morning speaker keynoting on the topic "Loyalty Trends 2006: Shifts That Will Revolutionize Your Customer Strategy."

Many of the exhibitors will be focusing on new products and services intended to help marketers become successful in a multichannel world.

Database services firm Alterian, for example, will be focusing on its recent acquisition of e-mail software provider Dynamics Direct and the idea of integration. Alterian on June 19 is hosting a presentation at the Flatotel in New York titled "The Integrated Marketing Solution" featuring a speaker from Forrester Research.

"We see a lot of situations where the marketing information is siloed," Alterian director of marketing Joe Stanhope said.

Marketers are looking to bring data from different channels together, make it actionable and put it in their own hands, he said.

The continued growth of online marketing is another trend speakers and exhibitors expect to be visible at this year's DM Days conference.

"I think there is a macro trend where a lot of money is coming into online marketing; however for DMers I'm not sure if that growth is as rapid as it has been in the past few years," said Eric Eller, senior director of product marketing at AOL-owned online ad network Advertising.com.

There's a lot of interest from brand marketers in online advertising right now, which may be replacing some of the dollars from DMers, he said.

Mr. Eller will be one of the panelists on the June 20 Convergence 2.0 panel.

"People are definitely interested in online marketing," Mr. Stanhope said, adding that he sees "a lot of spend going into it."

Some of the issues on DMers' minds include how to optimize online marketing; link it back to other marketing efforts, especially as this relates to e-mail; and how to make search relevant as it becomes more expensive.

The DMA is addressing online marketing at DM Days in several ways.

After an absence from the show last year, the DMA is bringing back two pavilions at DM Days. One is the interactive marketing pavilion, which was featured at DMA05 in Atlanta, and the other is the brand new motivation pavilion focused on incentive marketing. Two years ago it featured the direct response broadcast pavilion.

Also new to DM Days this year are Web usability labs offered by online user experience company Creative Good. They will take place June 20 and June 22.

"Usability labs were very popular at DMA 05 in Atlanta and we decided to include them at DM Days - [the] DMA's second largest show - as a value add," Ms. Colona said.

Plus, the Search Marketing Council has put together a series of programs that appear on the schedule on June 20 and June 22.

Another first this year will be the availability of podcasts prior to and during the conference. The DMA has teamed with WebmasterRadio.FM to offer attendees downloadable podcasts of show coverage such as interviews with keynote speakers and other content.

Five special concentration workshops carried over from last year. The categories this year are brand strategy and development; creative strategy and execution; management, metrics and systems; predictive modeling and customer segmentation; and search engine marketing. The workshops take place on the first day of the conference with sessions from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and from 1:45 to 3:35 p.m.

The DMA has decided to make the workshops a permanent staple of DM Days because of their popularity last year, Ms. Colona said.

There are seven tracks for sessions this year, covering customer relationship management; interactive marketing; interactive media; list/database management; management, metrics and systems; production/fulfillment; and strategies, forecasts and trends.

The show again will feature "Ask the Experts" roundtables, held at different time on each of the three days.

The Marketer of the Year Award, which had previously been handed out at DM Days, has been moved to the DMA's annual conference DMA06, which will be held in San Francisco in October. The award will be presented in the fall going forward "to give it a larger audience," Ms. Colona said.

The DM Days logo also was revamped to have a triangular middle in the first letter D that looks like a play button that matches the one in new DMA logo unveiled at DMA05.

However, the DMA's International Council today (June 19) will hand out a Direct Marketer of the Year Award to Mark Bridges, vice president and director of Mokrynskidirect's international division. A Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Florence Leighton, executive vice president and director of strategic planning and development of Direct Media International.

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