DM Days New York

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NEW YORK - This year's DM Days Conference and Expo at the Javitz Center was flooded with new attendees and, of course, many seasoned regulars.

Speakers shared experiences and insights into the emerging trends and best practices of direct mail, database and interactive marketing, with an emphasis on using social media and responsible data use. The floor traffic was heavy, particularly on the first and second days of the three-day show.

"For pure volume this is it," said Slade M. Kobran, vice president of marketing at the infoUSA National Accounts division in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. "But I think if there were ways to make the show a little more intimate, where people could do a little more to share ideas and best practices, I think that'll be helpful."

Bob Memmer, director of sales at Jigsaw, San Mateo, CA, also shared his thoughts on the traffic on the exhibit hall floor.

"I think the show has been really good for business development," he said. "A lot of people are interested in using our services from a partnership perspective.

Glenn Gottfreid, CEO of iInfoLure, also cited the show as a good opportunity to network.

"For us this was the best year we've had at a DM Days show," he said. "The level of activity with prospective business partners was better than in the past."

Much of the conference concentrated a lot on social media and the effect it is having on many marketers. Sessions focused on how to jump into this media channel and the power that users have in branding and advocating products and services.

"With the birth of social media, a lot of marketers feel they have lost control and that customers are now in the driver's seat," said Patti Freeman-Evans, senior analyst retail industry at JupiterResearch, during one panel. "They don't have to be. You [marketers] should be the ones driving and consumers should be like a navigation system, telling you where to go."

Revenue-producing search marketing tips having to do with search engine friendly design, smart SEO copywriting secrets, moneymaking pay-per-click tips, conversion and analytics strategies and expert link building techniques also were discussed.

E-mail tips centered around being responsible with your brand messaging. Clean, up-to-date lists and clear opt-out opportunities as well as welcome messages were the best way to start a two-way dialog with consumers.

"It's all about managing your reputation," said Rick Buck, director of privacy and ISP relations at e-Dialog. "A good reputation comes from the content and the quality of your list."

Attendees and vendors discussed trends at the show as well.

"In the database marketing world, a focus on analytics is continuing, "said David Frankland, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, who attended the show to speak with clients and track trends. " Hiring the right kinds of professionals is also top of mind for database marketers now.

Businesses are looking for people who are statistical geeks but that are also creative, imaginative and with strong communication skills," he said.

It's hard to find these people, Mr. Frankland said.

"Companies are turning to economists, MBAs, and in one case, even a wildlife biologist," he said.

Another big trend in database marketing is on-demand offerings.

"Businesses today want to be able to slice and dice data in real-time, so there is a push by many software firms to offer on-demand products and services," said Ray Kingman, CEO of Genalytics, who was promoting his companies' On-Demand Targeting for Business service at the show.

"When it comes to a data perspective, it's really about reaching the audiences that [clients'] want," Mr. Kobran said.

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