What We’ve Learned from the DMA &THEN

DMA’s mission is all about connecting, educating, and sharing in order to make marketing even better. We flew home from &THEN with loads of ideas of how to help evolve our client’s marketing and though we’ve already done a quick recap, we’d love to share some more insights gleaned from the talks, events we attended, and the conversations we had.


Throughout the show, we heard again and again to put people first. Anthony Carlos, a Strategic Account Executive at SPC, attended Humanizing Data For Phobic Customers and learned: “When using data in a marketing plan, think people first. Be authentic, which will allow you to gain trust and create greater engagement.”


Sarah Holmes, a forensic handwriting analyst, really drove that point home by giving one-on-one signature analysis to attendees. From just a signature, she could discover traits and insights into that person. It puts into focus how much you can learn when you have hard data to work with.

With this information, however, comes responsibility. Gil Bathgate, our Vice President of Loyalty, attended the talk Data Driven Content: Fueling Creativity with Science and shares this insight:  “When customers provide information about themselves, they expect brands to know them better, help them faster and understand how and when to approach them with meaningful content and offers.”


In the direct mail world there is so much we can do to help our clients market better to their consumers. At &THEN, we introduced Format Guide 7 and our Custom Card Styles Guide, both useful tools in customizing direct mail for a specific audience. From Gil and Data Driven Content again: “Consumers spend 30-60 minutes engaging with brand content prior to forming a relationship and making a purchasing decision.” A meaningful format or tangible card will help start and build that relationship.

Though it takes more effort and intention to create quality marketing, your efforts will be rewarded because good marketing creates good data. From Anthony and Humanizing Data For Phobic Customers again: “Marketers need to create an emotional connection with customers through data usage, which also helps build valuable data going forward over time.” It’s a cycle that increasingly improves your relationship with your consumer as the relationship grows and matures.

But even good data is just numbers without focus and direction. The real difficulty is taking the data and funneling it into an actionable, appropriate strategy. Brad Lane, from the Emerging Tech Trends for the Data-Driven Marketer talk: “People don’t want irrelevant ads. They also want privacy. Somewhere In the middle is where marketing can provide value.”

Our new Canon Océ ProStream 1000 Inkjet web press delivers that value by creating direct mail for many different audiences. The LEGO model we built during the show, with rotating press mechanisms and accurate details, was a huge help in sharing the advances in direct mail technology that this SPC acquisition makes possible.­­


Thanks for taking a digital stroll around the &THEN conference with us. Hopefully you’ve gained some insight into navigating the constantly shifting and evolving marketing landscape. We certainly learned a lot. We are here and ready with a reinvigorated arsenal of tools ­­to help you make your marketing even better.

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