I spent most of last week Chairing the Direct Marketing Track at the 2011 PODi AppForum. During my flight home I had a feeling of déjà vu, thinking this was the best of the four AppForums I’ve attended. Yes, I said that last year in this same place. AppForum has never failed to deliver an amazing combination of speakers, sessions, attendees, exhibitors and technology.
One of my favorite moments came at the end of the “Next Steps” session when an attendee from outside the U.S. asked me what I meant when I said, “Direct mail is the Betty White of marketing.” He said he’s not familiar with Betty White and three people quickly jumped in to explain that she’s an 89 year-old actress who is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, thanks in large part to social media tools such as Facebook. As we heard in Rab Govil’s keynote address, the same is true of direct mail.
It was fascinating to see how the role of social media has evolved since last year’s AppForum. The Best Practices winners demonstrated a keen understanding of how to use social media to complement print media. Those that arrived in Vegas thinking multi-channel and cross-media are synonymous went home with a much greater understanding of their respective applications and techniques and the impact each can have on marketing campaigns.
One of my favorite sessions came after lunch on Wednesday when Randy Marquis from PACE led a session on 10 Laws of Email Marketing. If you were attending another session at the time, be sure to download Randy’s presentation from the link on the front of your AppForum binder. The Revolution in Direct Marketing session was also an eye-opener and a great overview of what’s happening with inkjet technology. It’s not your father’s name and address anymore.
I can’t help but repeat (and expand on) what I said last year:
- The conference exceeded my expectations – again. Based on previous AppForums, those expectations were sky-high to begin with.
- The PODi staff continues to raise the bar in their attention to detail, concern for attendees, and general “fun-to-be-around-ness.” The Clemson interns are a treat to have in the sessions and should all have walked away with a handful of business cards from people who want to hire them when they graduate. (Tom, Bethani, Anna, Jesse – call me!)
- The information exchange that took place in every session was well worth the price of admission. I learned as much from the questions as I did from the session content.
- There is no better place to learn about sales and business strategies, relevant direct marketing, leading edge applications, or print on demand. Even when it’s below freezing in Vegas.
– Debora Haskel
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