Subject Takes Issue With NCDM Story

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This letter was edited for length.

After attending the National Center for Database Marketing conference in Orlando, I left with a feeling that it was the most informative, useful and organized conference I have ever attended. Therefore, I was frustrated to see this front-page article in DM News with a seemingly negative reaction ("NCDM Attendee Finds He Already Has His Solution," Dec. 13). The article implies that I had only one purpose in going to the show and that I was sadly disappointed. This was not the case.

My primary purpose was to learn about database modeling techniques and managing the ever-growing volume of data in our system. As a side mission, I expected to find an industry standard software package that might provide common marketing reports for evaluating catalog performance and customer value. I thought the ideal package could be integrated with our central Oracle system and cost under $10,000. Then, I met your reporter Mark Hamstra and explained my quest.

By that Tuesday, I had found a number of software exhibitors who provided powerful tools to retrieve and report information. However, most were designed for use as integrated systems and priced for profit organizations much larger than PBS.

Finally, I attended a seminar, "Off the Shelf Database Solutions," by Earle Palmer Brown Direct. The presenter, Joshua Moritz, discussed the tremendous improvements in desktop software over the past five years. For "non-rocket scientists" like me, he created a list of software products categorized as "all you probably every need." Among these were Microsoft Word, Excel and Access - all of which we use at PBS. After this, I had a chat with Hamstra that included an update on our previous conversation.

This was my first NCDM show. Attending it was even more valuable for me than attending the DMA conference because I am a marketing analyst. The tone of your article was an injustice. My comments on a specific issue do not accurately portray the value of the conference for the other attendees or myself. Certainly, these comments did not warrant a story.

Patrick K. Suess

PBS Learning Media

Alexandria, VA

Not sure what Mr. Suess was reading because the DM News story about his quest did not say he left disappointed. In fact, the story said, " ... after speaking with some fellow attendees who have similar positions at other companies and attending one of the seminars, he learned that he could use the software he already had ... " We question how this is an injustice to Mr. Suess or NCDM. When writing about the various conferences, we look for stories that are different from the usual coverage that appears year after year. In our eyes, this fit the bill.

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