The first time we went to a DMA NetMarketing show 18 months ago in February 1999 (seems like much longer ago, doesn’t it?), most attendees were shell-shocked catalogue industry marketers who’d just been ‘assigned to do Internet marketing’ in addition to their regular jobs. Like the Internet was a thing you could handle on a part-time basis. You know, on the side.
Boy has the world changed since then!
The more than 1,000 attendees at this week’s DMA NetMarketing show in Boston were mainly Internet-dedicated marketing professionals. In fact a strong contingent came from dot-coms such as VerticalNet, HumorNetwork.com and Garden.com.
Speakers: Apparently the best speaker was Philip Evans, SVP of Boston Consulting Group. We say “apparently” because unfortunately he was inadequately miked, so we could hardly make out a word (admittedly we were sitting at the back of the room.) Kevin Noonan, who just joined Yankee Group, had so many facts and figures at his fingertips that his fellow expert panelists were all gaping -- his moderator even made a joke about wanting to pop a networked line directly into Kevin’s head for a data download. Tim Meadows, NetRating’s VP Marketing, made everybody happy by rattling off lots of case studies complete with response metrics. (Nothing makes a marketer’s heart sing more than response metrics do!) Rick Bruner, VP Interactive Marketing Research at IMT Strategies, spared no bones in calling McDonald’s Internet presence “terrible” which cheered everyone because it’s always fun to hear how badly the other guys are doing (especially rich, famous, household-name guys.)
Top Three Trends:
1. Speaker after speaker said words to the effect that click throughs don’t tell you how effective your marketing is. Don’t pay attention to click through rates. The only thing that matters is your final cost per customer acquisition.
2. Privacy, privacy, privacy.
3. The pendulum has swung away from general mass branding ads (read “4th quarter 1999”) to measurable direct response marketing. This includes taking money away from TV and rebudgeting it toward online marketing.
Exhibit Hall: The exhibit hall reminded us of entertainment industry trade shows. It was colorful, dynamic and noisy! Annuncio snapped up the best, front-of-hall, booth position and grabbed even more attention by offering free pina coladas to all passers by. As for 247 Media’s booth … well they share their decorator with Pottery Barn. Sisal rugs, comfy couches, tasteful signage, clean wooden paneling. You get the picture. (And maybe even the catalog.)
Parties: AIM, the DMA’s Internet marketing branch, was very, very clever. Instead of just handing out invites to their party co-sponsored by Vflash.com, they told everybody to go to Vflash’s booth for an invitation. Nothing like driving booth traffic to make a co-sponsor happy!
The party itself was a mosh pit of frenzied networking activity. And, to use the words of one party goer, “the huge steaming buffet is really good. People are happy and sated.”
Show Winner - 247 Media for their fridge magnet set made of several dozen Internet marketing-related words (like “optimize” and “banner”) to create messages with.
1st Runner Up - Core Metrics for seriously useful stuff including a travel organizer we wish we’d gotten more copies of.
2nd Runner Up - The AfterMarket Company for the latest boiuncing, flashing rubber ball. This one makes crazy noises when you bounce it, the better to truly annoy your co-workers with!
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