The 2014 DMA Annual Conference

After attending 12 DMA Annual Fall Conferences year after year it’s clear that the marketing trends are moving rapidly into every digital channel available. At this year’s DMA show in beautiful San Diego the sun wasn’t the only thing that was hot. It’s all about customer engagement, multichannel, omnichannel, social, and mobile marketing. If you’re not engaging with your customers in some digital fashion you are already far behind your competition. While there are still a few “offline only” vendors trying to survive the digital shift, most of the exhibitors offered digital solutions at many levels.

While manning the FreshAddress booth I met several direct marketers across all verticals that claim email is the most important slice of their marketing pie. These marketers continue to clean, build and enhance their email marketing databases and utilize them as the foundation of their marketing plans. Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t say that direct mail was dead- just look in your physical mailbox! But, it is quickly moving to the back of the bus.

DMA 2014

Another big trend was proper rendering of messages on mobile phones. One out of just about every four hands at the show gripped a smart phone for dear life. Those that weren’t wandering aimlessly not looking where they were going while they were reading their email messages, myself included, were talking on it…what a novel thought…actually having a personal conversation with someone.

Finally, data continues to rule. Demographics, geographics, psychographics, buying behavior, interests, likes, and dislikes are all key to marketing segmentation. The more data you have the better your segmentation…that is, if you can manage it. I heard from marketers that while more data is better, sometimes too much can be overwhelming and stall marketing plans. It is a balancing act.

All in all my opinion was that this DMA Annual Fall Conference was better than those in the recent past. Attendance overall may have been down but the level of direct marketers in attendance and the desire to do real business exceeded my expectations.

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