Iraqi Conflict Colors DMB Conference Luncheon

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ORLANDO, FL -- Thoughts of the U.S.-Iraq war were evident during yesterday's keynote luncheon here at the Direct Marketing to Business conference.

Michael Faulkner, the Direct Marketing Association's senior vice president of segments and affiliates, opened the session by introducing a three-minute video presentation "to salute all Americans." The song "I'm Proud to Be an American" played throughout the presentation, which received applause from those in attendance afterward.

"[World events] can create distractions and concerns that could have made it very easy for you not to have attended," he said, leading into the presentation, "and it can be very easy to lessen your attention to the speakers and to the activities at this event. We appreciate your appearance here and your attention to the activities at this event."

Keynote speaker Joel J. Kocher, CEO of Web hosting service Interland, discussed ways companies can promote their Web sites.

"More than 70 percent of all Internet users utilize a search engine as part of their pre-buying research," he said. "It's therefore imperative that you crack the code on what the right mix is with this. It's one of those things that you have to constantly adjust. There are numerous options for search, but my strong recommendation to you is that you put a lot of emphasis on this -- now!"

He also said e-couponing is what's "hot" today.

"It is incredibly cheap," he said. "It's almost cheap to the point where you feel like apologizing for it."

Kocher recalled six months ago when he spent a week talking to business owners and marketers who had responsibility for demand generation and for overall operations and customer satisfaction.

"Probably the vast majority of folks that I found that had a Web site or had an online presence felt that the 'great golden promise of becoming global in a week' was baloney," Kocher said. "They [had] found other reasons why this Web site and this online presence made sense. One of the most pervasive ones I found was the notion of lowering costs."

Also at the luncheon, AlloyRed president/CEO Richard Rosen received the first Business-to-Business Marketer of the Year Award.

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