Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Annual Conference – DMA09 Summary

11/17/2009

- April Nelson, Director of Strategic Accounts

I had the opportunity to attend DMA09 in San Diego last month and also present on the topic of Website Analytics.  A recorded version of our presentation, Leveraging Analytics to Guide Your Multichannel Strategy, is available. 

DMA09 included engaging presentations and round-table discussions as well as an expansive exhibit hall.  That said, there was a definite focus on education and making more DMA educational content available online.  This was apparent by the announcement of a new DMA-branded website that compiles all marketing education resources (virtual seminars, e-learning modules, etc.) in one central location, as well as a new certification program (Certified Marketing Professional).  To get a head start on earning a certificate, some sessions' attendance was even counted toward credit for certification.

DMA President, John Greco, kicked off the conference by providing an overview of successes and challenges for the Association over the last year.  Successes included helping stop USPS rate increases and curbing Internet taxation legislation.  Greco also discussed the DMA's involvement in addressing proposed restrictions on behavioral advertising. 

The highlight for me was Martha Stewart, the opening keynote speaker.  The history and composition of her company, Omnimedia Inc. resonated with the makeup of marketers in attendance.  I was impressed with her knowledge level / understanding of Social Media Marketing and ability to execute across multiple channels.  While she is a firm believer in the importance of direct mail, Martha Stewart also appreciates that "digital technology is reshaping the marketing landscape".  This is evident by her personal involvement with company blogs as well as a Facebook Page  and Twitter profile.

With over 100 sessions that addressed all aspects of marketing from creative production to customer retention and database analytics, it was difficult to narrow my selection.  The first session I attended focused on social analytics.  Dell Computer and TasteofHome.com discussed how they are interacting in Social Media communities and measuring success.  While each company has different business models, they share a similar approach to Social Media Marketing / networking.   Both discussed the importance of defining goals and measurements for success as initial steps.     

Another session I attended discussed using variable video.  Randy Spurrier of Nimblefish presented a case study with Backroads.com that showed how including relevant video helped drive a significant increase in response rates.  In this case, Backroads.com created a "Trip Advisor" that guides visitors through a series of questions with the finished result being a personalized video recommendation for their next trip.  The use of still imagery with voiceover was discussed as a low cost alternative to expensive video production.  Although adding video to compliment your existing content can yield fantastic results – beware of the additional bandwidth / expense that comes along with it.  It takes 100x more bandwidth to host video content than it does for non-video content!

In all, it was a great few days spent at DMA09. 

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