Where do the marketing minds of the world meet? San Francisco, of course. At least they will next week when more than 16,000 are expected to converge on The Moscone Center for the Direct Marketing Association's 81st Annual Conference & Exhibition.
“We are expecting to go into the conference with the biggest turnout so far,” said Lisa Ferrara, acting director of conference programming at the DMA.
According to Ferrara, there will be more than 250 speakers, 12 tracks and 100 scheduled sessions at the conference, which runs Oct. 11-14. Two new tracks have been added because of growing interest in Web marketing and e-commerce.
None of the usual tracks have been eliminated, but four of them will include five new power forums, which will be held between the general and concurrent sessions. In e-commerce, there will be two forums: “Permission Marketing: Retaining Precious Names in Your E-Mail DB” and “The Future of DM in a Digital World,” which will be hosted by general session speakers Don Tapscott, president of New Paradigm Learning Corp., and Nicholas Negroponte, founder and director of the MIT Media Laboratory.
Brand Advertising & Integrated Marketing will have a forum titled “Build Brand Value on the Internet,” conducted by Candice Carpenter, chairwoman/CEO of iVillage.com: The Women's Network. Joseph Sugarman, chairman of the JS&A Group, will host the Media Channels & Choices forum “The Psychological Triggers of Selling.” The Management Challenges track will have a forum called “Strategic Force: Seven Elements for Future DM Dominance,” which will be run by Donald Libey, president of Libey Inc.
Some events begin Saturday, including the Worldwide Business-to-Business Marketing Forum, Catalog Weekend, Creative Conference and Global Direct Marketing Weekend. The conference gets under way Oct. 11 with the Annual Early Bird Concurrent Sessions. Later that evening, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek will emcee the International Echo Awards Ceremony.
H. Robert Wientzen, president/CEO of the DMA, will open the conference Oct. 12. Other speakers include Peter Ueberroth of the Contrarian Group; Gary Hamel, founder and chairman of Strategos; and Robert Pittman, president/CEO of America Online.
Ferrara said the influence of the DMA's international marketing members also will be felt more strongly this year.
“Like our domestic membership numbers, our international membership is growing,” she said. “Because of that, we plan on having a larger showing from our international delegation than we have had in past years.”