DMA Doesn't Change Much for DM Days; Exhibitor Total Roughly Equal to 2003

In its second year under ownership of the Direct Marketing Association and its third at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the 39th annual DMD New York Conference & Expo will have a few new features and several returning ones.

The show begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday.

Though the number of exhibiting companies rose by 22 for this year's Annual Catalog Conference, held earlier this month in Chicago, the number of expected DMD exhibitors is down two from last year when the two shows were held at the same time. As of May 10, 254 companies had signed up to be on the show floor. Of course, the recent numbers don't compare to the totals in 1999 and 2000, when more than 380 companies exhibited at the conference in the New York Hilton.

Attendance will remain a mystery as usual because the DMA does not release attendance figures for its trade shows.

For the first time, several of the DMA's councils will hold open operating committee meetings at DM Days this year. Nine of 16 councils that were regularly scheduled to meet in May will participate: broadcast, customer relationship management, directo (Hispanic marketing), list and database, financial services, insert media, international, pharmaceutical marketing and retail marketing. These meetings are spread across the three days of the show.

The councils also will have a joint networking reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. May 26 at Mr. Biggs Bar, 596 10th Ave.

Another addition to this year's conference is a Direct Marketing Educational Foundation dinner during which the new Vision Award will be presented to Lester Wunderman and the self-named agency he founded. The dinner is set for tomorrow at Bryant Park Grill.

“This is a first-time award and will be an annual part of DM Days going forward,” said Louis Mastria, director of public and international affairs at the DMA.

The DMA also is adding a direct response broadcast pavilion to this year's conference. The pavilion, which debuted at last year's annual fall conference, will highlight direct response broadcast vendors and topics.

Outgoing DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen will welcome conference attendees and introduce keynote speaker John Hayes, chief marketing officer of American Express, tomorrow.

This year's DMD Marketer of the Year award will go to Jason Ackerman, co-founder/chief financial officer of FreshDirect, an online grocery store in New York. The award will be presented at Wednesday's luncheon, at which Al Roker of the “Today Show” will speak. Other conference speakers include Kevin Carroll of Nike and Jeff Housenbold of eBay.

Other returning DMD features include DM University, session tracks and “Ask the Experts” roundtables. Exhibit hall hours begin at 10 a.m. all three days of the show, with the floor closing at 5 p.m. tomorrow and Wednesday and at 3 p.m. Thursday. Last year, the hall was open an extra hour each day. Shuttle buses to Penn and Grand Central stations from Javits as well as to the conference hotels will be available again this year.

Among the reasons the DMA bought the DMD show a year ago was to end the scheduling problems with the two shows. So far, that seems to be working. Next year's Catalog Conference takes place May 23-25 at Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando, FL, while DM Days is set for June 28-30 at the Javits Center.

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