The 7th International Internet Marketing Conference opened today in Montreal. It attracted more than any previous IMC Conference with 175 speakers and attendees from around the world. It takes a more, what I would call, holistic approach than many other conferences with “Search Engine” in their titles and is all the better for it. It’s not just for the Internet professionals, well represented here, but particularly caters to the needs of senior managers and executives who need to win Online.
More details on some of today’s fine speakers are given below. However a few key impressions are worth recording up-front.
1. There was a widely shared optimism (or perhaps realism) about the enormous returns that most companies can achieve by having a strong online (Internet) core to their marketing.
2. Some regretted that as more companies become aware of this potential, the costs of effective online marketing will rise.
3. Despite this, the return-on-investment (ROI) for online marketing will still make this the most worthwhile investment by far of all marketing dollars.
4. One problem is that online marketing has grown so fast that some of the traditional marketing services such as advertising agencies or direct marketing groups find it a major challenge to understand and effectively integrate the Internet into their marketing plans.
Without exception, the speakers were excellent and gave a great deal of practical, expert information drawn from outstanding success stories. The following personal notes outline some of the topics:
Geoffrey Ramsey, eMarketer – a great start to the Conference, highlighting the huge potential of online marketing;
Christine Perfetti, User Interface Engineering – a very insightful presentation based on many examples of real websites that seemed to be obstacle courses for visitors seeking information.
Barbara Coll, SEMPO – a fast-paced account of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) and the rapidly growing share it will be taking of marketing budgets.
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, AskMen.com – a fascinating success story of the most successful online men’s magazine and the lessons to be learned from its growth.
Brian Bakstran, Concord Communications – on “Quality Sales Leads”, mapped out how online marketing must be embedded within a total selling process.
Closing the day, a lively panel session ranged over a number of activities involved in a holistic online marketing plan. This included the involvement of other channels, such as direct mail and radio. The questions from the audience kept this at a very practical level.
In all, a great start to the Conference.