Day 2 of DMD Show Still Busy

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NEW YORK -- An upbeat mood continued during the second day of the DMD Marketing Conferences New York, with the nation's economy seen as the controlling factor in all areas of marketing.

"People are going to react to whatever the economy is doing," said Walter Perkowski, vice president of management at RMI Direct Marketing Inc., Danbury, CT. "When times are good, they're mailing more catalogs. And when times aren't great, they're doing less."

Ted Fortezzo of teleservices firm Dakotah Direct, Spokane, WA, described yesterday's traffic at the New York Hilton and Towers as "better than expected." A surprising number of prospects wanted to learn about teleservices, he said.

"Economic conditions cause people to think of other ways to sell products," he said. "Direct channels tend to be cost effective."

However, little of the traffic on the first floor of the exposition bled up to the third floor, where many exhibitors sat idle after lunch. Julian Parreno, senior vice president of pharmaceutical marketing at Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing, San Antonia, TX, said he expected layoffs and slashed travel budgets were responsible for the low traffic.

Mike Vignola, director of sales at Mailmen Inc., Hauppauge, NY, a direct mail service, said he wasn't sure what to expect this year.

"We've been attending the conference for a very long time and it seems comparable to previous shows, but I'm not sure how I would characterize it," he said. "I guess I'm taking a wait-and-see approach."

While Tuesday started off slow, things had picked up by yesterday afternoon, Vignola.

Bill LeVoir, a sales representative at MacKay Envelope Co., Minneapolis, said his company has secured a few strong leads and is hoping to get more before the end of the conference.

"You really can't say how well the conference is until it's over and you see what you've got," he said. "Like everyone else here, we're trying to attract people and get some good leads."

Connie LaMotta, president/CEO of LaMotta Strategic Communications, which is handling PR for the conference, said officials will not release an attendance count until Monday. There were 286 companies exhibiting at the show. When asked whether DMD would consider a third-party audit of the show, LaMotta said no.

"The marketplace is what decides whether you have an audit," she said. "The companies here aren't saying that's needed. They come back because they're happy."

LaMotta said 38 percent of this year's exhibitors have signed up for next year, June 17-19, 2002, when it moves to a much larger space in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

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