Sponsors get ongoing impact with DMA 2012


In this era of "do not call lists," anti-spamming legislation, mailing opt-outs and the many ways that consumers tune us marketers out, one might expect the 95 year-old "Direct Marketing Association" to be a quaint reminder of a bygone era, gradually fading into irrelevance. That's definitely not to be the case because they have evolved right along with the changes in direct marketing. One important way they demonstrate their evolution is with the way they manage their flagship annual event to enable ongoing impact.

In a previous post, I described how ongoing impact is the best way to achieve positive results with a tradeshow sponsorship. From my view, the DMA does a good job of balancing the sponsors' right to interact with the attendees with the attendee's right to choose their level of engagement. Interaction possibilities before, during and after the show are what makes sponsoring DMA 2012 a winning proposition for my hefty investment. It's also the reason I've been motivated to share this story. That said, here are six innovative ways the DMA delivers ongoing impact:

  1. Encourage all attendees, sponsors and vendors to use the DMA's social media platform, Vivastream, to register for sessions and interact before, during and after the event.
  2. Enable us to conduct and record a "Flashcon" webinar in June. The Flashcon allowed us to give the attendees an advance peek at Scott "Unmarketing" Stratten, the best-selling author and marketing strategist we've sponsored to speak in the Thought Leadership series.
  3. Invite us to deliver webinars that speak to the upcoming content at the event, enabling the attendees to get a sampling of what's to come, while allowing us another chance to interact with the audience. This year, we worked with the DMA on two webinars related to our Pre-Conference Intensive:
  4. Record the sessions proactively, arranging it so the presenter has to opt-out of the recording. Then they make the recordings available after the event for the attendees.
  5. Allow us to bring a film crew into our thought leadership session to record the speaker, enabling us to post the content onto YouTube and then create a summary paper. In 2011, we sponsored David Meerman Scott as thought leadership session speaker and got these two assets:
  6. Encourage us to contribute posts to the show blog.

Like all marketers, I am called upon to deliver results and demonstrate ROI. Ongoing impact is the best way to do both with a conference sponsorship because the investment keeps paying dividends long after the crates are shipped back home with the brochures we didn't hand out at the show. It's how to integrate a content marketing approach to the phenomenal opportunities that large conferences provide to reach your target audience. And because the DMA "gets it" when it comes to ongoing impact, I've found that working with them seems more like a partnership than a mere sponsorship. And that's truly ongoing impact.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments. And thanks again for following!


About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


  1. Thank you John! We have always seen the DMA2012 experience as being more than 6 days in October. In marketing circles, it's easy to talk about engagement, but we truly believe that engaging with our attendees and future attendees is a 365/24/7 goal. When we theme our Conference 'The Global Event for Real-Time Marketers' we need to be providing constant access to the latest thought in marketing, not make people wait until October. It is a real pleasure to work with partners such as yourselves who understand it and are constantly looking for and providing great quality content and thought leaders to bring to our audience.

    • John Balla

      Thanks for your kind words, Keith. We're really looking forward to the show this year, and we'll be talking soon about DMA 2013. It's never too early to think ahead!

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