CDMA Spring Conference Preview

Much progress on privacy issueA year ago, the two major issues of privacy and the environment preoccupied the Canadian Direct Marketing Association and were reflected at the annual convention.Fortunately, significant progress was made that year on both counts, particularly in the...

Much progress on privacy issue

A year ago, the two major issues of privacy and the environment preoccupied the Canadian Direct Marketing Association and were reflected at the annual convention.

Fortunately, significant progress was made that year on both counts, particularly in the area of privacy.

The biggest step was taken last fall when the cdma initiated its own tough self-regulatory privacy guidelines.

Reaction from consumer groups and political bodies has been positive and supportive.

With this new political and environmental consciousness in the background, the program planners for the 1993 cdma convention, entitled ‘The Power of Direct,’ to be held May 18-20 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, face a different challenge.

Management at cdma member companies already know about the ‘power of direct marketing.’

More sophisticated

But they also know that it is growing ever more sophisticated, competitive and pervasive.

Technology is allowing much more precise targetting and response to consumer interests and demands.

Even successful marketers outside the cdma continue to move away from a dependence on mass marketing, where one message fits all.

Smart companies now target their customers with discrete messages and are rapidly embracing ‘database’ and ‘relationship’ marketing.

This year’s convention is in Toronto.

So, we decided to capitalize on this opportunity to target two new audiences, given the growth and interest in our industry.

Beyond the usual attendees, we have taken aim at providing education and leading edge information for people in cdma firms who cannot go to out-of-town convention venues for budget reasons.

So the program aims at educating the accountants, junior marketing assistants, customer service managers, systems designers and warehouse managers – all those who make the direct marketing process behind the scenes.

Second target group

And we have designed sessions for a second target group – marketers outside the cdma who want to get in on the action.

Popularly known as ‘the World Series of Direct Marketing,’ this year’s event, which uses baseball as a promotional theme, will feature the best in Canadian and international direct marketing: Penelope Wong, of Wong Wong Boyack in San Francisco; Andy Cohen, of dri in New York; Pieter van den Busken, of Pieter van den Busken Advertising in Brussels; and top Canadians such as Marilyn Stewart, of Grey Direct; Mona Goldstein, of Wunderman Worldwide; and Neil Gallaiford, of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

As well, the first Canadian Catalogue Showcase takes place on opening day of the national convention and trade show.

Representatives of industry leaders such as Sears, Regal and Disney Catalogue will be on hand to answer questions and discuss what makes these catalogues successful.

Other activities

Other activities scheduled for opening day include a seminar on exporting to the u.s., an account of new fundraising techniques used by the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton campaign for the u.s. presidency, and an announcement by Canada Post concerning its new national change of address file.

Along the way, there will be a steady stream of revelations about why and how direct marketing has become such an integral and powerful element in the marketing mix of successful businesses in the ’90s.

Hugh Furneaux is president of Ariad Custom Publishing and chair of the CDMA Convention Program Planning Committee.