Last September my company, FM, hosted the first ever Conversational Marketing Summit in San Francisco. I wrote about it here. The event was a hit – sold out, good buzz, great speakers and attendees. I was proud (and very nervous about hosting our first event).
This year it’s back, and we’re doing it twice. First, in New York, the capital of brand marketing. That will be this June 9-10, as part of New York’s Internet Week (official site). Then we’ll do it again in SF this Fall – more on that event later.
But first, to our June event. If you read my rant on ad networks a few days ago, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about brand marketing, the online world, and conversational media. So it should not come as a surprise what the theme is this year. We’re calling it “New Brand Way”, and in our two days of conversation, we’re hoping to move the needle a bit on some sticky issues in marketing and media.
We’re selling only 300 or so tickets to this event. We’ve found that keeping the audience intimate makes for a really valuable use of everyone’s time. And those of you who’ve been to events I’ve run know we don’t waste folks’ time.
Readers of Searchblog get a chance to register early, and get a 25% discount. The code to use to get that big discount is JBAT25D. This discount won’t last long. We do events right, we spend real money on production, audio visual, and decent food (we’re doing it at the Ritz Carlton, after all). So get the discount while it’s hot!
Jeff Berman, EVP – Marketing and Content, MySpace. Curious how MySpace’s plans to make money in social media? Me too!
Eileen Naugton, Director of Media Platforms, Google. Eileen is in charge of Google’s media monetization strategy, including YouTube. Yep, that’s a big job.
Matt Freeman, CEO, Tribal DDB. Matt is a leader in creating new forms of marketing online. See his interview in Ad Age here for more on his kind of thinking.
Michael Hoefflinger, GM – Partner Marketing, Intel. You know Intel Inside? The one with a billion dollars to spend each year? That’s Mike’s program.
Wenda Millard Harris, President, Media, Martha Stewart. Wenda is also Chair of the IAB and used to run Yahoo’s brand advertising sales. She’s got tons to say, as you might imagine.
Rich Silverstein, co-chair, Goodby Silverstein. Yep, he makes great 30 second spots. But his agency is also leading in online innovation. So what does he have to say about the future of our medium?
Mark Kantor, CEO, Graffitti Wall. Want to know how to succeed on Facebook? Talk to Mark.
Jonah Bloom, Editor in Chief, Ad Age….
….and many, many more.
Below are some highlights from my write up of the theme. If it reads like a post on Searchblog, well, you should not be surprised. In fact, what I’m pasting below is pretty much the beginning of my second post on ad networks and brands. But I’ll get to that later, maybe this weekend…
CM Summit New York
June 9-10, 2008
The Ritz Carlton Battery Park
“New Brand Way”
Close your eyes and imagine leafing through your favorite magazine – Vogue, perhaps. A two-page spread halts your progress – the image of a beautiful, sophisticated woman standing in the doorway of a crumbling Havana doorway, with an elegant brand – “Lancome” – etched in the lower right corner. Or perhaps it’s a spread in Fortune, an arresting montage of imagery featuring a Jaguar automobile, a model you’ve never seen before.
Now, open your eyes, and imagine the same experience online.
Having a hard time?
As marketers, we love scale, and we demand safety and quality. But somewhere along the online way, we’ve forgotten about engagement.
Brand marketers are experts at using traditional media to build demand for their brands – over the past 50 years, we’ve perfected the art of the engaging spread, the irresistible 30-second spot. But when it comes to online, we have yet to find our footing.
Instead, we’ve funded the first ten-plus years of the commercial Internet with direct response dollars, pouring “branded display” budgets into ad networks and CPC vehicles. We’ve tried just about everything, to be sure, and we do buy display units on our favorite sites. Yet we’re often disappointed with the performance they deliver.
To paraphrase Wenda Harris Millard, Chair of the IAB, we must not trade our brands like pork bellies. Brands are not commodities, so why are we judging our online marketing by the standards of direct response? Is it, perhaps, because we can? Or, perhaps, is it because we don’t know how to measure that magic that occurs between a consumer’s ears when they first see the image of a beautiful woman standing in a crumbling doorway?
To keep building our brands, we have to go where the audience has gone. And every month, more than 600 million people visit conversational media sites – foreign lands when it comes to brand marketing. Or ….are they?
At the second Conversational Marketing Summit, our first in the brand capital of New York City, we’ll tackle this conundrum head on. What kind of marketing works in social media? Which of the lessons learned from marketing in traditional media apply when the audience joins the conversation? Why will we pay an $80 CPM to reach women, 18-34, in Vogue, but just $3 to reach the same audience online? What do we make of the promised new platforms from Google, AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo? Are CPC networks simply harvesting the hard won brand value we’ve built offline? How does one create engagement and build brands in the context of conversational media? What are the online analogs to the executions we so love in magazines and television, and how do we execute them? Who’s already doing it right, and how?
It’s time to reclaim our brands online, and to declare marketers a full and fair participant in the burgeoning conversation that is the online media world. In short, it’s a New Brand Way online, and it starts at the CM Summit, New York. Join us!
I hope to see you guys there. And if you have input, thoughts, ideas for making this program better, please let me know. Thanks!