May 20, 2008

ACCM 2008: Changing Focus

It's been six years since I attended this conference. The range of speakers and topics changed over time.
  • 23% of the sessions focused on circulation strategy and data.
  • 21% of the sessions focused on multichannel marketing.
  • 15% of the sessions focused on website design and website issues.
  • 13% of the sessions focused on online marketing strategy and execution.
  • 10% of the sessions focused on B2B marketing.
  • 8% of the sessions focused on small businesses.
  • 6% of the sessions focused on Social Media, Mobile Marketing, and Rich Media.
  • 4% of the sessions focused on e-mail marketing.
Less than a quarter of the sessions focused on pure catalog strategy.

The folks I spoke with, an albeit biased sample of catalog marketers, were generally interested in attributing online orders to catalog marketing, were interested in e-mail marketing (a disconnect with the sessions focusing on e-mail marketing), were interested in the interaction of marketing strategies that help create an order, and were interested in cutting catalog marketing expenses.

Attendees tell me of a disconnect. They are doing the things they've always done. They're mailing the same number of catalogs they've always mailed. But as illustrated in the content of the sessions above, they're required to know three times as much information as they used to have to know. Several folks communicated the stress of this situation to me --- they have sixty hours a week to do their old forty hour a week job plus the other one hundred and twenty hours of work that has been added. And then they have to listen to folks praise this new world as being "multichannel".

Vendors have an opportunity to help overwhelmed marketers manage this quagmire. The quagmire appears to be exhausting some attendees, turning still others somewhat sarcastic about the current trajectory of the industry.

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