Exhibitors Make Do With Light Traffic at Net Show

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SEATTLE -- Though traffic was light on day two of the net.marketingshow, exhibitors said they were making the best of a less-than-ideal situation.

Many said that delegates' questions were more pointed and profit-oriented than at the Direct Marketing Association's previous net.marketing shows.

"This year is more serious. They're asking a lot of hard questions," said Ronna Woodward, vice president of sales at eDialog Inc., Lexington, MA. "In a lot of cases, I think it makes better prospects."

Traffic has been good for eDialog, she said, probably because of the company's prominent location on the exhibit floor.

"It's a more qualified audience," Woodward said. "Last [spring], people were more willing to try new things" because they had more money to spend, she said.

On the outskirts of the floor, however, first-time exhibitor SpeedGreetings, Bethesda, MD, a business-to-business greeting card merchant, was making the best of a bad location.

"There has not been a steady stream of attendees," said CEO Chris Baynes, "but the lack of attendees has allowed us to talk to other exhibitors [for partnership opportunities]."

When SpeedGreetings signed up, they believed there would be 2,000 attendees, but only 535 exhibitors and attendees were on the mailing list distributed by the DMA, he said.

Baynes said he was using the situation to train his associates on how to work a trade show.

Geoff Smith, director of client programs at ClickAction, Palo Alto, CA, said traffic has been slow to moderate -- "and it's already mid-day Tuesday. I'm disappointed that there aren't the number of attendees that the DMA said there was going to be."

Because of the poor attendance, Smith said, ClickAction would not be exhibiting at the fall net.marketing show Sept. 23-25 in Denver.

"We will look very closely [at next year's] spring show," he said. "I'm

sure it's not the DMA. It's probably the industry."

Meanwhile, Jordan Broad, vice president of West Coast operations at ePrize, San Francisco, said the show presented a good opportunity to meet with partners and clients.

"It's nice to have a central place where we can get together," Broad said.

Senior Reporter Wil Cruz contributed to this report.
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