CDMA conference

Technology was chosen as the theme to the Canadian Direct Marketing Association's fall conference largely in response to a study the association commissioned last year, says the head of the CDMA.John Gustavson, CDMA president and chief executive officer, says the $100,000...

Technology was chosen as the theme to the Canadian Direct Marketing Association’s fall conference largely in response to a study the association commissioned last year, says the head of the CDMA.

John Gustavson, CDMA president and chief executive officer, says the $100,000 Price-Waterhouse study concluded Canadian direct marketers were not using new technology to their advantage.

As well, Gustavson says the study shows marketers in this country were not using the latest technology to the extent of their u.s. competitors.

He says one of the reasons Canadian direct marketing firms lag behind their American counterparts is their comparatively small size, adding many Canadian firms do not have the capital to invest.

But more importantly, Gustavson says ‘there was simply a lack of understanding of the latest and the best that was available.’

As a result, he says several of the conference sessions will focus on low-cost, practical techniques that can be implemented quickly, without the need for extensive retraining.

‘In studying that report, we discovered that there are many $5,000 solutions that could give our members a competitive boost,’ Gustavson says.

‘At the same time, we thought it might be good to bring in some very senior people to talk about the future – what technology is on the horizon and what we should be getting ready for,’ he says.

Keynote speakers include consultant Claude Legrand, who will talk about information technology, and Stephen Cone, senior vice-president, direct marketing at American Express, who will speak about information management.

A last-minute addition to the line-up is Harris Gordon, of management consulting firm Deloitte & Touche, who will be providing conference attendees a sneak preview of the findings of a major u.s. study on database technology management.

The study, in which more than 140 companies participated, is to be officially released at the American Direct Marketing Association’s conference in Dallas later in the month.

Gustavson says conference attendees should come away from the event ‘educated and inspired.’

‘For those with hands-on practical responsibility, we want them to take away two, three or four suggestions that will allow them to improve their competitiveness, without massive expenditures, through better use of technology,’ he says.

‘For managers, we’d like them to take away some vision of what we’re facing in the near future, as technology changes the way we run our business.’

The CDMA Conference on Technology will be held Oct. 15-16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.