DM Fair Focuses on Data Protection

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The United Kingdom's annual International Direct Marketing Fair will be held March 13-15 at London's new ExCel exhibition space, which opened late last year along the city's East End dock area and will feature three other shows.


New Media Marketing will make a second appearance after drawing more than 9,000 attendees last year. Two new shows, Marketing IT and TelecommercExpo, will debut at ExCel at the same time as IDMF.


Another show, Permission Based Marketing, will be held at London's Dorchester Hotel March 15-16 with support from the UK Direct Marketing Association. The overlap in timing was accidental, a DMA spokeswoman said.


Stand space at ExCel is almost fully booked, show spokeswoman Sue Baker said, even though the new venue has 20 percent more floor space than the old Wembley complex. Some 250 organizations will launch new products and services.


Major exhibitors will include UK subsidiaries of 3M and Acxiom, Advanstar Marketing Services, AFD Software, Advanced Technologies and ADM Group Mailing Services. The show expects to exceed last year's 13,000-plus visitors.


A conference program titled "Marketing in the Digital Age" is expected to attract 800 to 1,100 people.


Under the motto of "Marketing in the Digital Age," much of the fair's focus will be on data protection.


"It's a huge topic in the UK because the latest edition of the data protection act was only introduced a year ago," said fair director Malcolm Whitmarsh. "We have budgeted a whole day running on that to kick off the conference. In the morning we'll look at how the law covers traditional media, and in the afternoon how it will affect digital media."


The Web is changing acceptable customer practices, he said, citing a recent French court decision barring the sale of Nazi memorabilia online.


Print media, he noted, could be checked to make sure copy respected local rules and regulations.


"But now, with one e-source spitting out this stuff in every part of the world, customer practices are not respected, and that's one hell of a question for e-marketers," Whitmarsh said.


Speakers at the conference will include Elisabeth France, the UK's data protection commissioner, who will take part in opening-day discussions and then will deliver a luncheon keynote on the subject.


"So much of the new law is untested, and people find they're tripping up in how they handle the law," Whitmarsh said. "They have a problem and need to know how to deal with it."


Registration is available online at www.directmarketingfair.co.uk, or at 011 44 780 429 4312.

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