Expect Tighter Security, Other Changes at Fall Show

An increase in security leads the list of changes the Direct Marketing Association has made for its 84th Annual Conference & Exhibition, which begins Saturday.

The facility's management has new security measures to safeguard attendees because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“We have taken steps to increase security measures in and around loading docks and the truck marshaling areas,” reads a statement on the McCormick Place Web site. “No unauthorized trucks or other vehicles will be allowed up the ramps and into the dock areas. We have also stepped up foot patrols, and our mobile patrols are in place to monitor vehicles once they access the docks. … We will take every step possible to maintain security in our buildings.”

Underground parking at the convention center has been halted, and cameras are in place to monitor the loading docks, DMA spokeswoman Christina Duffney said. The Chicago Police Department also will provide on-duty uniformed officers at McCormick Place during the show. Attendees should expect random spot checks of bags.

The DMA will step up its own security efforts by requiring all attendees to provide photo identification to pick up their badges for the show. Once badges are picked up, they must be worn at all times.

Duffney could not reveal all the security measures. However, she pointed out that because of former President Bush's appearance at the show, the Secret Service would thoroughly check the facility before and during his presentation. Bush is scheduled to make the keynote address Monday morning and will talk about Sept. 11 as well as international trade in his speech, she said.

The DMA has encouraged all speakers and session leaders to acknowledge Sept. 11 in their presentations.

“I think that every speaker needs to not only address it but also tailor the information they're providing regarding the current situation because it's affecting marketing programs,” said Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president at Worldata/WebConnect, Boca Raton, FL.

Schwedelson will participate in a panel on undeliverable e-mail addresses on Monday and will give a solo talk on e-mail marketing techniques on Wednesday. Both issues were greatly affected by Sept 11, he said.

The DMA has added a session specifically to address marketing in down times and the impact of Sept. 11.

Even so, one firm plans to proceed with its session unchanged.

“We're going forward with what we had planned,” said Yvette Glavin, senior marketing manager at Cahners Business Lists, Des Plaines, IL. “We're obtaining case studies for our presentation, and it will not be affected by what happened.”

Jeff Moriatry, director of sales and marketing at Cahners, and Denise Moser, director of data product development, will give the Saturday pre-conference business-to-business session titled “Five Components You Can Test to Improve Mailing Results.”

To keep conference attendees informed about what is happening outside McCormick Place, the DMA will replace its Virtual DMA electronic billboards with nonconference news this year.

“Instead of Virtual DMA, which we had last year, this year as a result of Sept. 11 we're going to have 12 kiosks throughout the convention center that are going to constantly run CNN Headline News,” Duffney said. “That way we can provide delegates with the most up-to-date information about everything that's going on in the world.”

The DMA has added at least one new conference feature this year that is not disaster-related. At the DMA Interactive Center, attendees will be able to download the session and exhibitor information into their personal digital assistants to eliminate the need to carry around the conference materials, Duffney said.

Although an attendee registration figure was not available, she said 550 exhibitors were registered as of Oct. 11.

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