I just could not let it go. The DMA bought the trade show DMDays NY (DMDNY) several years ago. Not a bad move and it sort of made sense as a replacement for the now defunct DMA spring show. I’ve been in and around the direct marketing industry long enough to remember that it was once DM Day (singular). In recent years the show had moved to the cavernous Jacob Javits Center where it was one of at least two or three shows going on simultaneously, and even with that it was gobbled up by the immense expanse of the Javits.
Prior to the past several years the DMDNY show was at the NY Hilton. My associate Mickey Alam Khan – editor of Mobile Marketing Daily, put it best when he noted that the show at the Hilton promoted ‘butt-brushing’ since spaces were tight and people actually and literally ran into each other. That was a good thing! So after spotty attendance at least year’s show at the Javits the DMA decided to move the show back to the Hilton. Great move right? Well yes and no.
Well yes since it was always a giant pain to get over to lunch dates from the Javits. Restaurants abound near the NY Hilton and combined with the great Hilton bar, (where MANY meetings took place and where business really got done), made the Hilton a great choice. They got that right.
But the show itself? As my soon-to-be 17 year old daughter would note OMG! She could easily add WTF? Of course I discourage her from using that type of language. But she’d be so right. Digital Marketing Days. WTF? The name is changed but it was the same tired old show – no, it was more tired.
I readily acknowledge that the education tracks were much more shifted to digital marketing (social media, analytics, PPC, SE0/SEM) more than ever before. So some effort was made to change the tone. Yet in walking around the two floors of the exhibits it was sad, gray and depressing. Most of the people I talked to at the booths were disappointed in the turnout to put it mildly. And digital it was not. There were virtually no mobile marketing demos, and for whatever reason some printers and related companies. I could go on but you get the idea. Maybe those printers had a few digital presses, but it was not exactly what crossed my (or the people I talked to) mind when I thought of Digital Marketing Days. The show is for the most part irrelevant. There some good people speaking but for the most part you can get the tracks and discussion at a myriad of other conferences.
I insinuated in a post after the DMA annual conference last fall (held in San Diego) that AdTech had eaten the DMA’s lunch. Well to me now it looks like it’s only gotten worse. In contrast I had a very nice evening at the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation Rising Stars event down at Bridgewater’s at South Street Seaport. The DMEF is a great part of the DMA and its mission of helping promote and attract young talent to direct (and digital) marketing is right on. It’s uplifting to see young talent want to be involved in our business although after being at Digital Marketing Days I would wonder why.
Were you there? What did you think?