DMA Goes DRTV for Annual Conference

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In the spirit of its new direct response broadcast pavilion at this year's 86th Annual Conference & Exhibition, the Direct Marketing Association is promoting the conference via CD-ROM, direct response television and radio spots.

The conference runs Oct. 12-15 in a new wing of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

After the success of last year's digital print pavilion, the DMA decided to add another new pavilion this year.

"The digital print pavilion will move into the exhibit hall this year, and the direct response broadcast pavilion will be separate," DMA spokeswoman Christina Duffney said.

The pavilion will feature 40 direct response broadcast vendors such as Warren Direct, A. Eicoff & Company, Infoworks and Inpulse Response Group. It is being produced in partnership with the DMA Broadcast Council. Samples of long- and short-form infomercials and radio spots will run in the pavilion along with case studies.

Pavilion exhibitor Warren Direct produced the CD-ROM that the DMA sent to 25,000 prospects to promote the conference. In addition, the company produced 60-second DRTV and radio spots for the show that will run Oct. 6-9 in north central Florida.

Going forward, a new pavilion will be added each year as the one from the previous year moves into the exhibit hall, Duffney said.

Another first at this year's show will be the release of a DMA response rate survey.

"To my knowledge, it's the first report of its kind to be released in our industry," she said.

The DMA also will release its Quarterly Business Review as well as two white papers at the show. The topics of the white papers will be telemarketing after the do-not-call list and the effect of the war against Iraq on direct marketers.

Tom Brokaw, anchor of "NBC Nightly News," will be the keynote speaker in the opening general session Oct. 13. Beginning the session will be the annual state of the industry address by DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen.

The DMA will continue with its pre-conference weekend that it revamped last year and has added two tracks. The first is a retail track. The other is Direct Marketing University, which was introduced in May at the DMD New York Conference & Expo in New York. DM University is a two-day seminar on the basics of direct marketing led by industry hall-of-famer Bob Hemmings. Each participant who completes the program will earn a DMA certificate in the essentials of direct mail and multichannel marketing.

In March the DMA said it would include its international pavilion in this year's show after considering canceling it. It also has reinstated the international reception, which was not held last year. The reception will take place on the evening of Oct. 11.

The annual Echo Awards have been moved from their customary spot on the first night of the conference to a brunch at 11:15 a.m. Oct. 12.

Also as part of the weekend program will be a keynote by former Burger King Corp. CEO Barry J. Gibbons at 1 p.m. Oct. 11.

In the regular conference program, a new executive issues track has been added to session topics. There are 125 sessions and 250 speakers scheduled for this year.

The conference had 561 exhibitors signed up as of Sept. 29. The exhibit hall opens at 4 p.m. Oct. 12 and closes at 6 p.m. Oct. 14.

Instead of holding its usual closing event on the final day of the conference, the DMA is holding its event Oct. 14 at SeaWorld while the conference sessions end the following day at 3:30 p.m.


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