May 10 2007

In the Land of Too Many Conferences, This is a Good One

In the Land of Too Many Conferences, This is a Good One

It’s rare that I’m sad to leave a conference — usually I can’t leave fast enough.  But such is my mood today leaving Mediapost’s third Email Insider Summit.

Our industry is way over-conferenced in general.  I’m guessing that our company’s full conference calendar has 40+ events on it over the course of a year.  It’s more than we can afford to exhibit at, participate in, speak at, attend.  We do our best, and what money we spend is much more carefully monitored and measured than it used to be, but usually it’s with that sick feeling in the pit of our collective marketing stomach that we’re throwing money away just because our competitors are there.

But the Email Insider Summit is different.  While there are some aspects of the show that I don’t love — four days is a long time, and three half days of golf and snorkeling is a little too heavy on the boondoggle side for my personal taste — the content and attendees are fantastic.  Mediapost’s formula of comping marketers and charging vendors very high prices to attend ensures an intimate, high level, and vendor-light crowd.  That’s a recipe for success in my book!

The two most interesting nuggets from today:

1. John Stichweh from Coca-Cola’s observation that brand marketing and direct marketing continue to rapidly converge, and that measurement of outcome (e.g., ROI) as opposed to measurement of process (e.g., GRPs or impressions) are gaining steam, never to look back.  I couldn’t agree more.  What can be counted will be counted.  And it can all be counted in the world of advertising, somehow.

2. Lisa Galli from CNET’s discussion of mobile marketing and what they’re doing to take advantage of the channel.  The best example I’ve heard in years of a marketer leveraging a medium is their new SMS Reviews product — just text message CNET1 the words Review xxx (insert name of product here), and you’ll get a text message back with a product review.  Now THAT ought to make shopping for electronics much more interesting.

I’m ready for more conferences like these, and fewer mammoth trade shows.