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Inaugural InterACT! Conference Is a Hit

September 2010
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ROSEMONT, IL—There are events for marketers and ad agency staffers focused on emerging cross-media marketing and social media trends. Ditto for programs geared primarily for marketing service providers (read: printers) that address these technologies. But, until now, marketers and service providers didn't "interact" in a single educational forum focused on how print, online, mobile and social media can work together interactively to drive business.

That all changed Aug. 10-11 for the 350 people who attended the inaugural InterACT! conference, organized by InfoTrends and North American Publishing Co. (NAPCO), the publisher of Printing Impressions and Target Marketing magazines. The largest percentage of attendees came from the marketing side—direct marketers, brand owners and ad agencies—with the remaining roughly 40 percent comprising service providers.

Keynote addresses directed toward the entire audience featured Vic Walia, senior director of brand marketing for Hotels.com; global brand strategist, author and Ad Age columnist Jonathan Salem Baskin; as well as presentations from InfoTrends group directors Barb Pellow and Chris Bondy. Simultaneous tracks during the two-day conference focused on "How marketers are making interactive media campaigns work" and "Implementing new media solutions...requirements for success."

In addition, a special technology tabletop exhibit area provided InterACT! attendees ample opportunities to learn more about the offerings from, and direct specific questions to, industry suppliers such as Pitney Bowes, Kodak, Xerox, GMC, HP, Océ and Ricoh, among others. And technology showcase talks by industry experts were given during time slots in between the schedule of sessions.

Through a combination of case history presentations and panel discussions during the sessions, conference attendees went home with a better understanding about how to conceptualize and implement integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns that, increasingly, incorporate social media, online presences, mobile technology, QR (Quick Response) codes, Augmented Reality, video, digital printing, variable data and personalized URLs (PURLs).

One take-home message was the importance of developing a marketing strategy before launching new media tactics. Determine your business goals and define your audience. How will you "humanize" your brand? How does your audience use social media? What is your content resource and distribution strategy? And how will you measure the success?

Without a well-thought-out strategy, new media efforts usually won't be successful, various speakers stressed. And, simply doing something with social media doesn't constitute a marketing campaign. PI

 

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