Unlike the previous days’ bright sunlight, Tuesday was gray and chilly here in Chicago, and it was raining hard by the early afternoon.  Luckily, everyone at DMA2013 stayed toasty warm and dry inside McCormick Place, as Awards Day kicked off in style with the presentation of the Marketer of the Year award at 10:15, followed by a keynote moderated by Ginger Conlon, editor-in-chief of Direct Marketing News, on women executives’ take on the equalizing power of data.

By 12:45, the line to get into the Hall of Fame luncheon awards stretched down the hall and around the corner.  There, three visionary thought leaders were inducted into DMA’s Hall of Fame—Seth Godin, founder and president, Squidoo.com, and author of seventeen bestselling books; and Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., founding partners, Peppers & Rogers Group.

DMA’s 1:1 Guru Sessions took place at the back of the Exhibit Hall, in the area where Ask the Experts took place on Monday.  These pre-scheduled fifteen-minute sessions offered attendees the chance to get one-on-one advice with specific problems or strategies for their companies from leading research experts.  Advice like this could have cost thousands of dollars if attendees had seen these gurus during their normal business hours, but here at DMA2013, it was free!

Before I swung by DMA’s Happy Hour, I stopped at the Town Square to look in on a discussion.  Stephanie Miller, DMA’s VP, Communications and Member Engagement, was moderating a talk about what to do about DMA’s own name.  Ever since DMA began to implement our new strategic plan and our new mission to advance and protect responsible data-driven marketing, the question has been raised: should this internal mission change be reflected with a change of name?  Does “DMA” properly reflect our current goals and identity?  Since we’re all about sharing ideas and opening dialogue at Annual, Stephanie put the question out to our attendees and members.  The resulting dialogue brought up such ideas as “accountable communications” and “extraordinary marketing”—it was very stimulating!

After that, most attendees exited the Exhibit Hall to begin primping and preparing themselves for the ECHOTM Awards Gala later that evening.  Wednesday, October 16, will be the final day for exhibitors to network, close sales, and give out the rest of their merchandise—where does the time go?  DMA13 is already drawing closer to its final day, and yet it seems like it has only just begun.  If you’re already thinking about next year, discounted tickets and bookings for the 2014 conference are available at the front of the Exhibit Hall—it’s never too early!

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