Live from DMA2010: Lawrence M. Kimmel on Change and Direct Marketing
"I thought I'd start today talking about something I do every day of my life, and something I'll continue to do every morning of every day for the rest of my life," said Lawrence M. Kimmel, CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, to start the Monday morning open general session, "change."
The DMA's message throughout 2010 has been that the new technologies are direct marketing and you need to integrate them. It's practicing what it preaches. The MyDMA smartphone app allows attendees to browse and schedule sessions like a personal assistant (there's similar functionality on the website, but there's precious little opportunity to connect to that at the show, so the move to smartphones really shines). There are social media quote boards around the hall that scroll through things being said about DMA2010 all over the Internet. Several sessions are being streamed around the world, and there will be a Social Media Face-Off later today that will be adjudicated by text message.
People are networking in person all around me, of course, but there's that extra feeling that we're not isolated in that. The show feels next gen—as if this extra coordination, connectivity and social interaction makes this all more productive. It may all just be perception, but perceptions count.
The DMA's just launched a "sitelet," NewDMA.org, that will become the DMA's new website. Eventually it will be customizable, allowing each user to limit the information they see to only the things they're interested in to better parse what can be an overwhelming amount of information from the site. The DMA is also rolling out a new "knowledge bank" that will allow members to see sessions at conferences they could not attend, like this one.
Change has been good and bad for direct marketers. Kimmel spoke about how for 20 years he sat at the kiddie table as a direct marketer while "real marketers" (advertisers) discussed the grown-up strategies. But today he said it turns out, "We were right. ... We understood the importance of analytics underlying marketing communications 40-50 years ago. ... We understood the importance of quantification in marketing before the computer age was upon us."