Maybe their event will change your life, who knows?
I keep being spammed by hotels in the Boston area. They want me to purchase a discounted room when I attend the event (I am not attending the event). I ask the hotel marketers how they obtained my email address. They told me that the DMA gave them a list of exhibitors (vendors), and the list the DMA gave them had me as an exhibitor.
So, yes, this may change your life and it may ignite you career.
But also consider that the DMA makes the same mistakes we all make. Nobody is flawless.
P.S.: A story. Back in 2003, it was time for me to pay my $30,000ish DMA dues. I was tired of paying $30,000 for nothing. So I did not send in payment.
A month later, I get a call from a DMA sales rep. The call went something like this.
DMA: Kevin, Bill here from the DMA, how are you?
Kevin: Well, I hurt my back yesterday pushing a vacuum, but ...
DMA: That's great. Listen, you didn't make your annual payment. I just want to see when we will receive it?
Kevin: I'm not paying this year.
DMA: Wait, what? You're not paying?
Kevin: In order to make a return on investment, I need to generate about $105,000 of incremental sales to cover the $30,000 membership cost. Show me how your organization made me $105,000 last year?
DMA: Well, the discounts to conference sessions alone should pay for your fee.
Kevin: We don't go to your conferences.
Kevin: Because historically, my staff tell me that they don't learn anything when they attend DMA-sponsored events.
DMA: How is that possible?
Kevin: My staff are smart.
DMA: They should consider speaking at an upcoming event.
Kevin: So I should pay money so that my staff can miss time at work sharing what they know with my competition so that you can make more money?
DMA: That's not the right way to look at the issue.
Kevin: Until you can prove to me that we generate $105,000 in additional sales because we align with the Direct Marketing Association, I am not making the payment.
Two weeks later, +/-, the phone rings.
DMA: Kevin, this is Bill (not his real name). I have my department VP, Shari with me.
Kevin: Hi Shari (not her real name).
Shari: Listen, we want to know when we can expect payment?
Kevin: You'll get payment when you prove to me that you generated $105,000 in annual sales - enough money to cover your annual fee.
Shari: Our advocacy in Washington DC will more than cover your costs.
Kevin: Can you give me an example where your advocacy delivered millions in cost savings for the industry?
Shari: We recently helped the banking industry.
Kevin: I work in the apparel industry.
Shari: Nonetheless, your DMA membership is appreciated, and it delivers disproportionate value to your brand.
Kevin: When you prove to me that you generate $105,000 in annual sales, enough sales to cover the cost of membership, I will send you my payment.
Apparently that call didn't go over well with Shari/Bill ... because a few hours later, my boss received a call from the DMA ... and then my boss told me to make the payment. I explained that I needed to see a return on investment before I made the payment. My boss reminded me that she was my boss.
I made the payment.