Last week I read about the Direct Marketing Association's plans to eliminate the List Day Conference. My first reaction? Bad move. After thinking about it for a few days I am convinced it is a step backwards for the DMA and the marketing community.
List Day was the DMA's only conference of the year devoted to educating people about mailing lists and the list business (unless you include Fast Forward, but that's another topic). Why should it be preserved? Quite simply, mailing lists are the single most important factor affecting the outcome of every direct marketing campaign and there is a general lack of understanding on how to best utilize mailing lists.
I am guessing the DMA is making a "business decision" to eliminate the conference because it is not profitable enough for their standards. Attendance at List Day is waning: since 1999, attendance has steadily fallen and had only 275 attendees last year (and probably only half of them were paid attendees).
However, the bad attendance does not justify their decision to cancel the conference. They should have tried to fix it instead of throwing it away. As far as I can tell, there was no effort to fix.
If the DMA is truly committed to helping its members to improve their marketing campaigns, they should fix the problems and hold this conference. After all, good mailing lists are at the heart of every success direct marketing campaign.