Digital Marketing Expo: Day 1

I’m not even going to attempt live-blogging, since wifi is so incredibly inconsistent. Maybe it’s the vaulted ceilings and cavernous rooms. Whatever it is, it blows.

Morning Keynote: Joe Redling, Chief Mktg Officer, AOL. His basic premise was this: first we were dial-up. Then dial-up wasn’t cool, so we weren’t cool. Now, we’re broadband and wireless which are the new cool. Plus, we give folks the stuff they want for free and follow through on the brand promise of making life easier for members. A 50-minute speech that can be condensed to my few sentences. Good because it was simple, bad because the speech/presentation were less than engaging.

First Session: Creativity in online advertising. Two agency creative directors and two grassroots political advertisers. The ad people said good creative mattered, but only if we follow “technique”: know the message first, then utilize the appropriate medium. The political folks worked on the Kerry/DNC campaign. They said direct, honest messaging carried the day. They also mentioned blogs to light results. Only 2 people (and I was 1) of 100 or so said they’d used blogads. After the session I got kudos for the Vote Carrie stuff TBS did and they let me know Henry Copeland (Blogads) includes us in his slides. Cool.

Second Session: Letting go of control. Basically a panel on blogs and community. Absolut, Best Buy and Audi all gave good talks. Nick Denton of Gawker moderated. We talked about GM Fastlane, Raging Cow, Slothemore Institute and Robert Scoble. The people in this group “got it” but were still quiet. Mine was only one of 3 asked. I wanted to know if more companies would/should/could adopt the GM model or the employee empowerment (Scoble) model. Response was overwhelmingly in favor of finding someone in your business who had a prominent (although maybe not the CEO) and consistent voice and a great willingness to enter the conversation not only to message to customers but to hear them out as well. Good stuff.

Now is lunch, networking, business-card shuffle and blogging. More after the evening keynote.

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