DMA Plans First Latin-American Show
"We want to get as many people as we can," DMA public relations director Chet Dalzell said, "but with a first time event we need to be conservative because historically first time events tend to draw a moderate number of people.
"We'd like to get 200 but we'll be happy with whatever we get. We're doing this on the strength of the program, the quality of the speakers and the geographic diversity we hope to attract."
The DMA has debated holding such a show to highlight DM in Latin America for some time, but preparations began in earnest at last year's annual DMA conference in Toronto with initial mailings going out soon after that. Once the program was finalized the DMA rolled out larger mailings.
"We're mailing the finished program to our entire membership in the US and the other associations are mailing locally within each country. We expect to follow up with an e-mail blitz this month.
"We're also doing a media outreach campaign into the Miami business community because a lot of US businesses run their Latin American operations out of there, as does the US DM agency community."
Dalzell conceded that the fifty-fifty split in attendees might be hard to obtain, given the currency devaluation that shook much of Latin America in the wake of the 1997-99 Asian meltdown. Latin Americans are getting a special discount rate to attend.
The program, Stephen Kimmerling, who coordinated the event for the DMA, said, "has good geographic diversity and a good mix of case studies and sessions that offer a bird's eye and industry view.
"The mix of specific and broad brush strokes is going to be helpful, as is the fact that we have solicited speakers from some of the major markets like Brazil, Mexico and Argentina."
E-commerce will get top billing at the show - as it does at every other domestic and international DM event these days - with dedicated workshops, keynotes and panel discussions.
"But we don't want to overlook or ignore the more traditional DM media like direct mail and data-driven marketing," Dalzell said. "E-commerce may grab the headlines, but traditional mail is a good staple that continues to have value in the US and in Latin America."
The conference, to be held at the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort, will feature onsite simultaneous translation. "We told the speakers that content is the most important thing so that their comfort level comes first.
"They should speak in the language in which they are most comfortable so that language is not a barrier to substance and they can get up there and speak from a position of confidence and strength."
The conference kicks off on June 7 with a day-long seminar on e-commerce in Latin America, which conference organizers claim, "is poised for explosive growth" both in terms of local startups and established US giants moving in.
The morning session will be hosted by Armando Exposito, IBM's director of e-business solutions for the Andean region, while Harry Neuhaus, Yahoo Latin America's sales director, will conduct the afternoon meeting.
Alejandro diPaolo, a veteran Argentine direct marketer who is chairman of the newly formed regional alliance of the Latin American Direct Marketing Association, will deliver the opening keynote.
Formal opening is set for June 8 with DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen delivering the opening remarks, followed by Peter Rosenwald, direct marketing vice president at Abril, Brazil's largest publisher, who will give the keynote address.
Concurrent sessions will follow on special subjects. Enrique Cuevas, Readers' Digest managing director in Mexico, will discuss successful direct mail programs for that market.
Freddy Rosales, vice president of the Argentine DM agency di Paola y Asociados, will talk about the power of brands in winning consumer recognition, and a group from Rapp Collins will examine loyalty programs.
The conference also will see presentation of the ALMADI awards for the best direct marketing and e-marketing campaigns from across Latin America.
Online registration at www.the-dma.org/dmalatinamerica is possible till May 22 or by calling DMA customer service at 212-790-1550.