Direct Marketing Trade Shows
Q: I’m new to the direct marketing industry, and have a direct marketing question for you. I need to get up-to-speed asap. Can you recommend any trade shows that I should attend?
A: The primary industry association is the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). They hold an annual trade show that is very well attended (more than 5,000 attendees) in October of each year. This year it will be held on Oct 11-16 in Las Vegas. Here’s the thing about the conference–it is definitely a great place to network, but the education (in my opinion) is lacking. But, go for the networking–all of the key vendors to the industry will have a booth and (a side benefit) they host fun parties. We typically spend a full day just wandering the exhibit hall and learning about what is new and who’s offering, what.
In regards to education, if you’re truly brand new and really need to get the basics of direct marketing, then you may benefit from attending sessions. Just know, however, that many are ‘taught’ by the largest vendors (and DMA sponsors). Sadly, many haven’t figured out how to share information without it being a commercial for their company. And, after you’ve attended a few DMAs, the agenda will start to look a tad repetitive.
In regards to other trade shows, I would recommend looking for local happenings from the American Marketing Association (AMA). The AMA has many regional chapters, hence it’s easy to build your network with folks who live and work in the same area as you. And, if you’re ever looking for a new job, you’ll be happy that you’ve built this local network.
Lately, I’ve enjoyed attending e-marketing trade shows. I’ve seen excitement here that I haven’t enjoyed in other areas. Lots of good stuff happening in the world of social marketing and mobile marketing, and these shows are the places to really learn a lot.