The 2017 &THEN annual DMA conference almost didn’t happen, as the threat of Hurricane Nate hung over the New Orleans event before it even began. However, when I landed on Saturday evening, the threat of serious weather had already passed. By the time I arrived at my hotel, it was mostly blue skies and light clouds.

Yet, it seemed that by this time, a number of exhibitors and presenters had already scrapped plans to attend. The show sessions were peppered with missing or substituted speakers, and a few floor exhibitors decided to pull out because of the threat of weather (including an SPC competitor slated to exhibit across the aisle from our booth), but the rest of us soldiered on and learned a lot.

Despite all of that, I have to say that the show floor had a really great energy and &THEN felt very well-attended. It seemed like every person who stopped by our booth was a good fit for SPC and our value proposition, and we had a lot of fun chatting with many people.

The Small Restaurant Feel

In some ways, it feels like the actual size of the show floor gets a little smaller as fewer exhibitors seem to turn up each year, but the quality remains high. This ends up having a ‘small restaurant effect’ on the floor—putting the same number of attendees into a smaller space makes everything more active and energetic and there’s a better feel to the room overall.

SPC had two really great attractions in our booth this year to grab the attention of those walking the show floor. We had Eric Hunter, a professional LEGO artist, “Building the Future” in the shape of our newest equipment purchase: the Canon Océ ProStream inkjet web press. We also had Sarah Holmes analyzing attendees’ handwriting, providing really interesting personality insights. Sarah always draws a crowd!

We had a good number of meaningful conversations with great new prospects on Monday and Tuesday, and a good time catching up with existing customers and vendor partners that we don’t get to see often enough.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Data

The biggest thing I came away with from all the sessions I attended was the impact and importance of “Big Data.” We need the constant reminder that marketers have to find a way to use all the data they’re collecting to do a better job of driving truly personalized communications—whether in print or the digital world—to the market. The current plague of generic emails has rendered that medium all-but-useless, as we’ve been conditioned to tune out almost any email that comes from someone we don’t know. The only way marketers are going to cut through the clutter and hit their targets is if they can find a way to send relevant messages to the right audiences at the right time. I guess we don’t need a hurricane to remind us of that.

 

Brad Lane
Strategic Accounts Executive

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