Innovative Strategies for Growth

"What looks good? Should we go to the 'Live Web Usability Labs' or go hear the talk by the EVP of Marketing & Merchandising for Home Depot?"

"Dude, are you kidding? I think Pat O'Brien's opens in 20 minutes. We could be having Hurricanes for brunch."

"But what about the conference?"

"Hello? Is this your first DMA conference?"

"Well, as a matter of fact..."

"Nobody ever goes to sessions at business conferences, unless like their boss is speaking. Why do you think they hold them in places like New Orleans? They could put 5,000 chairs in the 7th Regiment Armory in New York if they thought anybody really cared about the content."

"But my boss thinks I'm down here learning something. He thinks I'm at 'Speaker Roundtables' or listening to the 'former chair of J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather.'

"Think so huh? How old is your boss?"

"I don't know, 50-something?"

"That means he's been to about 30 of these things in his career and he knows they are just 4 day-long endurance contests to see how much you can guzzle and still put on a respectable performance in bed at 4 o'clock in the morning or hit a golf ball at first light."



"But what about the speech by the chairman of Time Warner Media & Communications?"

"Mere window dressing. Speakers don't come down here to reveal their best business secrets to all their competitors. They come down here to add a line to their resume or stalk the three or four customers they can't get on the phone or hope that some trade reporter stays awake long enough to claim they said something worth hearing."

"What about the cocktail parties and dinners?"

"You go to the cocktail parties because the drinks are free and you can start to get your buzz on while you make that all-important decision whether to hit on someone early and have to suffer through them at dinner, or better yet, make a date for midnight when your chances of getting lucky are astronomically higher. You also use cocktails to let vendors track you down and invite you out for some decent Commander's Palace food so you don't have to eat hotel chicken."

"What about the '500+ Exhibitors'?"

"Think of the exhibit hall like career day in high school when you get to size up companies you might want to work for someday or a place to collect bag-fulls of goofy trinkets you can take back to your secretary or your kids. It is also a great place to pick up babes since every company either dispatches their best looking employees to attract traffic to the booth, or they hire models who live nearby and have a place you can go to do the horizontal bop."

"So your company is spending $1,600 on conference registration, and what? $500 on airfare? So you can get drunk, get laid and sniff out the chances of going to go work for one of their competitors?"

"Hell yes. But that's not what I told my boss. I send him a memo with this cut and pasted from the DMA Web site: 'The past few years have posed challenges for even the strongest companies. Yet organizations committed to direct marketing have enjoyed a competitive advantage - gaining and retaining customer loyalty through application of direct marketing's proven, response-driven strategies. Maintaining that market advantage, however, means staying up-to-date on innovative direct and interactive marketing practices and getting to know industry peers and leaders.' "

"Excuse me, I think I'm going to be sick."

"No, you just need a little hair of the dog... TAXI!!... Pat O'Brien's please!"

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