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Direct Marketing Association


At its Annual Conference & Exhibition, DMA has the challenge of marketing to marketing exhibitors. The solution? Great data.


D


esigned as half conference and half trade show, the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Annual Conference & Exhibition is “really one of the largest


global marketing events out there,” said Paul McDonnough, DMA’s vice president of conferences and events. That’s not hard to believe — the meeting drew about 8,000 attendees to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas last October, 34 percent of them international attendees representing 40 different countries. Nearly 400 exhibitors, or “solution providers,” as DMA calls them, also took part, and McDon- nough expects those numbers to grow when DMA convenes at McCormick Place in Chicago this Oct. 12–17. Because DMA is an association made up of marketers, the


organization’s own marketing strategies have to be top-notch. “We start our campaigns [for the show] back in December, so a full 10 months before the actual show date the next year,”


62 PCMA CONVENE JULY 2013


McDonnough said. “We actually develop proprietary lists based on who we want to see in our hall.” DMA’s marketing lists are not just based on exhibitors from past years, but rather “we try to see the trends as far as segments and verti- cals, or new markets, that are popping up.” This year, DMA organizers came up with another option


for solution providers on the show floor. Called Experience Lounges, the four 20-foot-by-20-foot areas will be designed by Freeman, the shows general contractor, to mimic the first-class lounges found in airports. Each one has its own theme — email, mobile, search, and creative — and is spon- sored by a different exhibitor, who will have the opportunity to deliver practical advice on how to implement some of the strategies attendees have been learning in education sessions. “[Solution providers] will have two or three of their representatives in the space that can speak from a


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