I’ve attended countless editions of direct marketing shows over the years. For many years the spring show in New York City was called Direct Marketing Days. (Actually it was originally Direct Marketing Day). Way back in the 1980’s and 1990’s it was primarily a place for print vendors, list vendors, and mailing houses to have a booth and schmooze with their old pals. The direct marketing business was much smaller then and in fact the show for most of its history had been held at the NY Hilton Hotel before leaving that intimate setting for the cavernous Javits Convention Center (a sad day that was).
Fast forward to the present and the DMA endorsed spring show is now termed ‘Integrated Marketing Week’. This year IMW as held at the Metropolitan Pavilion. It is an intimate setting to say the least. Noisy too. Or too noisy as during the sessions one could hear other sessions over the cubicle style dividers.
Yet there was a big difference from what I remember at the DMDNY shows of the past. The attendees were overall substantially younger than I remember. This is not solely because I am older. There was much less gray hair and also more energy among the attendees that had been missing. Combine that with the fact that there were nearly zero print vendors, list vendors and mail shops exhibiting. While there were fewer exhibitors compared to the past, they were the right mix of app developers, mobile and CRM vendors. Much more relevant and as I see it much more of value to today’s marketer.
In my conversations with some of the attendees when we discussed my drumbeat phrase ‘digital is direct’ I was happy to hear overall agreement and that this show had good and interesting marketing tracks and content. That’s something I do not recall hearing about DMDNY very often.
As part of IMW the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) holds its judging sessions of the DMA International Marketing awards – The ECHO awards. I’ve been a judge for many years now and always enjoy seeing the work from other marketers and other countries. I am surprised when I read through the entries on how many entrants do not really understand how to position a direct response campaign in terms of measuring its direct response success. In fact a large national pizza chain’s ad agency entered their campaign as a direct response effort and yet their primary success measurement was that they sold more pizzas. Not exactly a direct response metric is it? That does not mean it’s not an important metric as selling more pizzas is of course the goal. But selling more total pizzas not a direct response measurable . So it’s not direct response. Had an e-coupon, email sign up, app download, or mobile game downloaded (just to name a few) been employed and then success could have been measured in a quantifiable way. That’s direct response.
Still it was a good week to be a direct marketer in the Big Apple. The role of direct response has been evolving and direct response leading to retail sales has become a defining path for many start-up brands. And that makes total sense. I’ll write more about that in a future post.