Oct 162005

In From the Perimeter

In From the Perimeter

I’m at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual massive trade show (DMA*05) in Atlanta.  While there are lots of things to potentially blog about, I think the most interesting one is the simplest.  When I started attending the DMA’s shows six years ago, the only interactive marketeing companies who exhibited were email vendors and the occasional sweepstakes company — and any interactive marketing company who did bother to show up was relegated to a small booth space in a corner of the trade show floor, away from the real action.  A friend of mine once told me it was easy for him to hit all the email guys at DMA — just walk around the perimeter of the room.

It’s 2005, and oh how things have changed.  The DMA put the “Interactive Marketing Pavilion” center stage this year, literally in the middle of the floor.  Besides Return Path, loads of other interactive marketing companies (and not just the email and sweeps guys!) have prime real estate at the show.  Within eyeshot of our booth are fellow email companies SilverPop, StrongMail, WhatCounts, Accucast, and ExactTarget, as well as analytics companies like Omniture, online ad companies like Blue Lithium, Kanoodle, and Advertising.com, lead gen companies like Cool Savings, and even a search firm or two.

The move is more than symbolic and more than just the fact that online marketing vendors have been around long enough to bid on better booth locations (although no doubt both of those things are true).  It’s representative of the way mainstream marketers now conduct business — increasingly online and increasingly multi-channel.  Online is another important part of the mix, not the stepchild.

Online marketing firms are now in from the perimeter, and we are happy to be here!