On With the Show

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Hey, I hear there's a conference going on and 16,000 of your closest ("I know I haven't met you yet, but because I see your name tag, I'm going to act like I've known you for years") friends will be there. Direct marketers take that direct part very seriously.

And here's what will be on everyone's minds:

* Networking.

* Making that sale.

* Looking for new business.

* Keeping up with old business.

* Going to the parties.

* Walking the floor and getting free stuff.

* Bumping into old friends.

* Seeing the sights.

* Attending sessions to find out what's new in the DM world.

Looking through this mammoth issue, you might have noticed a great deal of news from companies announcing deals, partnerships and products. And there will be lots more announcements in the next few days.

Some serious discussions will take place at the parties, the meet-and-greets and those early morning roundtables. Like last year, this year's hot button will surely be privacy. And like last year, you can bet there will be an update on how DMers are doing concerning privacy -- especially in three areas: online, children and the European Directive (see the second story in our two-part series, page 1).

A year ago, the DMA's H. Robert Wientzen announced a privacy policy that has since been overshadowed by these other issues. In the meantime, the White House, Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and several privacy groups have gotten involved. What were called baby steps in this space a year ago will certainly have to become giant steps to keep self-regulation viable in today's political climate.

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