Traffic Starts Off Light at DMB Show

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The exhibit hall at the 14th Direct Marketing to Business show opened here to little traffic yesterday morning. It seemed that the 600-odd booths were staffed by more people than were actually attending the show.

However, the light traffic -- possibly due to the early hour and the fact that many attendees were participating in workshops and seminars -- was not unexpected by many of the exhibitors. As the first seminar session broke, a number of people strolled in to cruise the booths.

Far less dramatic than the Direct Marketing Association's show in Seattle, there was little excitement to rival that of a 6.8 earthquake. The DMB show was co-produced by the DMA and sponsored by iMarket Inc.

Rich Simms, development manager at DialAmerica Marketing Inc., said the sparse traffic on the exhibition floor was expected. He said the main reason for the light turnout was because many of the exhibitors did not know how to properly market themselves.

"I'm in the telemarketing business," Simms said. "And as you can see I don't have a phone here. I don't even carry a cell phone. There are no distractions for me here. I'm here to promote DialAmerica Marketing. Nothing else."

He pointed out a number of booths that were either poorly staffed or staffed with people that weren't actively trying to draw in the passing traffic.

"The key is to engage people as they walk by," Simms said. He did that by not only greeting everyone that passed the DialAmerica booth, but by encouraging them to sign up for the company's promotion to win a Handspring Visor handheld computer.

Michael Faulkner, executive vice president of the DMA, said he was not discouraged by the light traffic on the exhibit floor. In fact, he saw encouraging signs.

"I've signed up two new members already," he said. "Plus, we have a number of people who signed up for our reception tonight."

Faulkner did not know how many people actually attended the show, but he was confident that as the day progressed, traffic would thicken.

Simms said that many of those that registered for the show were probably attending the sessions and that once they let out, traffic would increase.

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