*Conference Exhibitors Ask, Where Did Everyone Go?

SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California is known for its slower pace, which proved to be true for the traffic in the exhibition hall at the 17th Annual Catalog Conference & Exhibition held here this week.

Some exhibitors were disappointed in the turnout of visitors on the floor. Michael Aronowitz, president/CEO of Saleoutlet.com, New York, said that many people he spoke with on the hall's floor said the traffic there was light. “There's too many booths and not enough traffic,” Aronowitz said.

It's possible that San Francisco draws less catalogers than Chicago, said Aronowitz, where the show was held last year. On the first full day of last year's conference, the Saleoutlet.com booth was swamped with visitors, and staff “could not leave the booth,” he said.

Meanwhile, Liz Petersen, director of sales at MSGi Direct, Boston, said that traffic to the company's booth was good, because of a mailing that MSGi had sent to conference attendees before the show. The mailing offered attendees a pair of boxer shorts — that MSGi staff would “personalize” onsite at the booth — if attendees registered online to participate in a Wine-of-the-Month give away. The promotion was case-in-point that “direct marketing really works,” Petersen said.

Next year's conference will be held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, June 4 to June 7.

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