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NCDM Conference and Exhibition Getting Mixed Reviews

ROSEMONT, IL — The mood is mixed at the 27th National Center for Database Marketing Conference and Exhibition here.

Interviews yesterday and Monday, the day the show opened, found some exhibitors happy with the show despite the slowing economy and others not so happy.

Jay Pearce, for example, the marketing manager at Exstream Software, Lexington, KY, a first-time exhibitor at NCDM, was pleased with the results he was seeing.

“We've received 15 leads in the first two hours we were here on Monday,” Pearce said. “And we are getting more every day. And the leads are high-level.”

Pearce, whose company sells Dialogue, a solution that combines document creation, campaign management and tracking, said Exstream has attended other trade shows this year, including Xplor and some e-billing shows, but he said this one is “bringing in the better results by far.”

Amy O'Toole, director of marketing and advertising at Customer Communications Group Inc., Denver, said the show had been slow Monday but picked up considerably yesterday.

Others, however, were concerned.

C. Olivia Parr Rud, executive vice president at Data Square, a West Chester, PA, database marketing consulting firm, said the show floor seemed empty Monday. She said the reason might be that “the show is not downtown [in Chicago]. Maybe that would have been a better draw for more people.”

Carol Meyers, vice president of marketing at Unica Corp., also said show traffic seemed slow Monday.

Others said they had heard attendance is about 1,200 this year, compared with 2,000 at last year's show.

The Direct Marketing Association said it could not confirm any attendance numbers until the end of the week.

Some major vendors were not in attendance. Xchange Inc., for example, a customer relationship management company in Boston, decided not to exhibit or attend the show this year.

“We decided to not go to NCDM for basically two reasons,” Phil Adams, senior vice president of marketing at Xchange, said in a phone interview. “Fewer people are evaluating database software this year [because of the slow economy], and we are also focusing more on marketing directly to our customers instead of going to trade shows.”

Adams added that Xchange exhibited at several trade shows in the spring “and traffic was down considerably. Most of the time it was just vendors talking to other vendors on the show floor forming partnership deals. We really want to focus on communicating directly with our customers.”

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