Editorial: Good Show, Bad Location

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The Direct Marketing Association should not bring the fall show back to Orlando, FL. And when Orlando's tourism officials come asking, the DMA can blame the Orlando Sentinel and reporter Rich McKay's lopsided story as a key reason. McKay (or his overzealous editors?) used every cliché in the book to describe the DM industry in a story about last week's show, "Spammers and Telemarketers Share Secrets in Orlando."

In it, McKay highlighted those DM stalwarts SnoreFix and Money Maker Plan and compared the show to one big war council, where marketers "plan better ways to separate you from your money." He also wrote that DMers sit around figuring out how to get around spam filters, and he mentioned Hypnosis 360 as an exhibitor. What convention was this guy at? For one, you nitwit, it's Hyphos360, and, two, Hyphos is a database company that helps other firms -- including, ironically, the Orlando Sentinel -- in the targeting process so mail isn't junk. Want even more irony? The Sentinel is a DMA member!

Hey, Rich, have you ever bought something from a catalog? Have you ever clipped a coupon from your Sunday newspaper and redeemed it at the grocery store? Have you ever gone online and bought something from Amazon? Guess what? That's all direct marketing, part of a $1.7 trillion industry. The $30-plus million DMers just added to Orlando's coffers from hotel stays, cab rides, meals, rental cars and blowout parties are just a drop in the bucket, so the city won't miss us. Fine, the DMA should take the show and go somewhere else. Maybe Orlando can replace it with the Fourth Annual Meeting of Moronic Journalists.

Besides the Sentinel article, Orlando is a fine city, but it has too many distractions: Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, etc. The locales for the various parties -- big and small -- were very nice, though they were too far apart. But the biggest problem with Orlando was that too many attendees took along their families, especially because of last week's Columbus Day holiday. This left the exhibit floor empty during Sunday's opening reception. Once Monday rolled around, however, the show started rocking, and most everyone walked away happy. That's the first time this has happened in the past several years.

The good news is that the DMA has not officially added Orlando to its four-city rotation for the fall show. Don't. Take my advice and give Orlando the big heave-ho.

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