NEW YORK — Delegates to the 40th Annual DM Days New York Conference & Expo were served a mix of news, views, giveaways and ideas by an eclectic bunch of exhibitors.
One of the few promotional agencies at the show was BR Zoom, Wilton, CT, and its Powerhouse Premiums sibling. The company uses colorful giveaways for clients seeking consumer attention. A first-timer at the show, it aims to gain DM business-to-business work.
“I'd like people to say that direct mail marketing isn't a drop of 3 million pieces of mail to houses, but it can also grab attention,” said Lee Rogan, account planning director at BR Zoom.
A prize display at its stall was a camp survival kit for Cadbury Schweppes' Mott's. The beverage marketer targeted food service managers at camps nationwide with an elaborate mail piece. Inside the package were Mott's Fruit Punch, Hawaiian Punch, Mott's Original Apple Sauce, Snapple 100% Juiced and Yoohoo Chocolate Milk.
Results from this specialized mailing sent in February are being measured. But this sell-in proposition was uniquely crafted to catch the attention of food service managers besieged with food pitches year-round. It is not reflective of usual marketing efforts in that industry.
“What they typically did was send out a sell-sheet — how to order it and so on,” Rogan said. “They don't get a great deal of response because everybody's sending their sell sheets.
“Business people are mostly jaded. They've seen it all. What [the camp survival guide] is doing is it's special, it gets a chuckle. Hopefully it makes them more amenable to pitches.”
Veteran DM show exhibitor Canada Post Corp. was back at DM Days New York with its pitch and hockey puck giveaway. The postal service wastes little effort in wooing U.S. firms to use its service when marketing to Canadians. A large amount of time is spent marketing Canada itself.
“That's the biggest part of our job,” said David Montgomery, account executive for the Carolinas and Florida at Canada Post in its office outside Toronto. “The perception is [Canada's] big, it's far away.”
So, does attending direct marketing shows like DM Days New York pay off?
“You just need one or two to make it happen,” Montgomery said.
Direct marketing media services firm ParadyszMatera is a regular at DM Days New York. But instead of just focusing on its list heritage, ParadyszMatera is also promoting its PM Digital division to prospects and its magazine publishing clients.
The booth display — clean lines on a largely white display with copy touting PM Digital — included PM Digital brochures that were a testament to this new push.
“[Internet marketing] is one of the fastest-growing areas of our business, and many of our existing clients are starting to take advantage of our interactive division,” said Paul Masse, vice president of account management at ParadyszMatera, New York. “So we're getting that dreaded word, 'synergy.' “
CPW Direct Mail Group's ship-shaped booth draws attention to the unusual mailers it creates and delivers for clients. The Ronkonkoma, NY, company recently entered the color lasering market for one-to-one mailings.
Two items in CPW's marketing arsenal are worthy of note. One is the 2005 desk reference for high-volume mailers with tips and information related to postal issues. Another is a flowchart handout to determine Standard Mail eligibility, a document particularly useful to nonprofits.
“We've been working with a lot of nonprofits as their inhouse mailing department to give them ideas on saving money on postage and printing,” said I. Todd Matises, vice president of client services at CPW.
“There's a big issue in Standard Mail that if you include personal information in your mailer, you might be required to pay First-Class rates,” he said. “People don't know about that and whether their mailing qualifies for Standard Mail rates.”
The postal requirement took effect June 1.
A few aisles over, Hallmark Business Expressions, a unit of Hallmark Cards Inc., opted for a bright yellow enclosure in a sea of staid, almost standard-issue, booths.
The Kansas City, MO, company this summer will launch an Internet portal with an inventory of greeting cards suitable for consumers and businesses. They will be able to personalize these cards online, said Steve Cashman, senior vice president of Hallmark Business Expressions. An ad campaign to promote this new Hallmark portal breaks this summer.
Banta Direct Marketing, a leading printer in the Midwest, brought a bevy of executives to staff a vast booth as it does at almost all direct and interactive marketing shows.
Mark James, director of marketing at Banta, said his company recently installed a 110 web offset press at its Oak Grove Village, IL, facility to enable better inline and imaging functionality. The company also installed a ninth head of imaging on two of its presses.
The 110 press was important to Banta, James said.
“It allows us to image fully on one side of the mailer and then image the address on the outside of the mailer, which helps it mail better,” he said.
Banta also is increasing support to its marketing with the hire a month ago of Tonya Krueger-Morel, business solutions manager of retail.
Of course, a trade show isn't complete for Banta without Sarah Holmes, a Waltham, MA-based handwriting analyst who draws crowds to the booth. One person curious about his handwriting's correlation with his personality was Robert Reich, a senior sales executive at New York direct mail and printing firm MDS. His office is a few blocks from the DM Days New York venue of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
“I have no expectations, no notions,” Reich said while waiting his turn to be analyzed. “I'm real curious about it. In fact, it was something I'd always like to do myself.”
Another attendee who was happy with Holmes' analysis of her handwriting was Sloane Lucas, vice president and associate director of corporate communications at direct marketing and promotions agency Draft. The New York-based Lucas gave good marks to this year's conference. There was more energy this year than last, she said, and attendees and exhibitors were much livelier. But she had an observation or two.
“It seems that the exhibitors are not utilizing this as a platform for news, [but] purely as a sales and marketing versus media opportunity,” Lucas said. “They're holding their news for the big DMA annual show.
“From a strategy perspective you can understand why they want to make a splash at the big show,” she said. “But more of them should consider this show to announce news because it's smaller and they won't get drowned out.”
In the product fulfillment industry, the growth of e-tailing has increased demand for inbound CRM and customer service, said Michael Kincheloe, executive vice president at Karol Media, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Companies that sell on the Internet have less need for order processing services, and more need for overall customer care. Fulfillment providers have had to adjust their capabilities accordingly.
“Some people still want live operators,” Kincheloe said. “They still want the customer service.”
For paper providers, the biggest factor affecting the market is fuel prices, said Bryan Jamgochian, national sales manager in the envelope group at MeadWestvaco, Stamford, CT. Fuel prices affect the entire paper production process, even the manufacturing of patch material used with envelope windows.
Paper companies also are being affected by corporate consolidations, particularly among banks, Jamgochian said. Consolidation actually can be a chance to expand business with a client if the client acquires a competitor.
“It's been a unique year,” he said. “But we feel we bring a lot to the table.”
Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters
Senior reporter Scott Hovanyetz contributed to this report.