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Oct 02, 2006
Event Wrap-up

Behind the Scenes at OMMA East, MIXX 2.6 Shows in NYC -- Top Three Online Advertiser Worries

SUMMARY: Two interactive marketing conferences went head to head in New York last week. OMMA East, sponsored by MediaPost, and MIXX Expo 2.6, sponsored by IAB, which also served as the official interactive conference of Advertising Week.

Reportedly, more people attended OMMA but MIXX featured more client case studies. Because of their close proximity, quite a few marketers were seen hopping between shows.

You can read what the speakers said in loads of other news publications. Instead, Sherpa went behind the scenes to ask attendees, hundreds of top agency-side Internet advertisers among them, what are the top three concerns worrying them...
By Stefan Tornquist, MarketingSherpa Research Director

Overall attendee buzz at the shows: Simplify (please)

The most common emotion from attendees was one of feeling overwhelmed, while technology pros, speakers and exhibitors were all excited about the proliferation of media, tactics and channels.

While I heard a lot of attendee excitement about specific tactics, the undertone was summed up by one consumer packaged goods marketer, “We have enough trouble getting budget for email and search, let alone the tools to track them properly, and now everyone is expecting us to have mobile and MySpace and video blogs and everything else."

He continued, "Of course, there’s going to be hell to pay when we can’t prove the business these things generated in the first 12 months. We’re not encouraged to bring in vendors, but there’s no way we’re going to be on top of all of this.”

This keeping-it-simple trend continued when I asked marketers who are doing fairly heavy paid search advertising whether they were exploring alternatives to Google and Yahoo as cost per click prices rise.

The answers ranged a bit, but basically, the answer was “no.” All were planning on expanding their MSN "tests" but beyond that, they seem happy to know they’ll get enough traffic from the big three.

As one marketing manager said to me, “I love that with three search engines we’re getting 99% of the audience. We have to serve ads to hundreds of sites, but search is simple.” (Note: According to our data, it's only 93% of the audience, but that's still the majority.)

Top three issues on many attendees' minds:

Aside from feeling overwhelmed by options and sticking to search major leagues, here are the top three issues on many attendees’s minds:

#1. M&A

Every agency executive I spoke to was looking for evaluations (and valuations) of search engine marketing agencies –- they’re looking to make acquisitions in the next six months, and there’s going to be plenty of action.

The venture capital dollars have dried up in search –- or so I heard from a VC -– and now it’s time for agencies to start absorbing.

#2. Mobile

We’ve all heard about the coming of mobile for a while now, but talking to consumer marketers at OMMA and MIXX, it seems to have arrived. The marketers and agencies on the stage weren’t the only ones with active mobile campaigns or plans in the works.

But, there are still some serious obstacles. The biggest ones are reach and hesitancy/inflexibility on the part of the carriers. US carriers hold all the cards, but are loathe to do anything that might lose them even one subscriber since their acquisition costs are high and they’re unsure about this whole mobile as revenue thing.

One mobile insider suggested that the European telecoms will buy up their slower-footed American counterparts. They understand how their channel has changed and how to monetize it.

#3. Staffing

Here, bad news is good news, sort of. One pro staffer said her company expects to see online mobility at the operational end of things slowing down over the next 12 months.

Reasons: worries about the economy equate to greater stability and acquisitions are increasing the pool of laid-off marketers. Offshoring of ad management and search is also on their radar as affecting staffing needs.

Useful links related to this article

OMMA Conference & Expo

MIXX Conference & Expo

MarketingSherpa's Buyer's Guides to Search Marketing Firms (in case you're thinking of hiring or acquiring one of them:)
See Also:

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