*Booth Location Sidelines First-Time Exhibitors

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NEW ORLEANS -- First-time exhibitors here at the Direct Marketing Association's 83rd Annual Conference and Exhibition said they were generally pleased with the fall show, yet expressed concerns about their booth locations and sporadic floor traffic.

The first-timers, a blend of traditional direct marketers and dot-com companies, said they met a lot of prospects that could turn into customers, but they believed a better place on the floor could have produced better results.

Many of the companies, some of which had booths at the ends and sides of the enormous exhibit hall, said they noticed heavier traffic toward the middle of the floor.

"Because we are new to it, I don't think we got a prime location," said Dick Henninger, account manager at Integrated Warehousing Solutions, Downers Grove, IL, a warehouse management company. "I think there ought to be a way of equalizing that."

The first-time exhibitors also said that because of the ongoing sessions throughout the day, traffic on the floor was at times light, resulting in a lot of downtime.

"It is a little bit difficult to get people in here all of the time because they're doing their sessions," said Andre Calilhanna, market development manager at Disc Makers, Pennsauken, NJ, a CD-ROM and DVD provider that helps companies place catalogs on discs. "So it's a sporadic flux of people coming in and out."

Several first-time exhibitors, however, were pleased with the show.

"Things are going really well," Tara Deininger, manager of business development at brightstreet.com, Cupertino, CA, an application service provider. "Traffic was great, and we met a lot of folks here."

Meanwhile, one company that attended the fall show for only the second time said it, too, had problems last year with sporadic traffic and a poor booth location.

"We have a better location this year, but last year our booth was placed in this L-shaped wing with some kind of display in front of it," said Jim Olizarowicz, director of marketing at Shift4 Corp., Las Vegas, a payment processing software company. "We actually had to ask them to remove it, and our traffic still wasn't great."

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