ACCM Post-Mortem: A Last Hurrah?
Actually, that headline might have been more appropriate 12 months ago when the Annual Conference for Catalog & Multichannel Merchants had at least a little life left in it. This year’s ACCM, held two weeks ago in New Orleans, was the 23rd consecutive one I’ve attended. And like many of the sad few who showed up to this year’s, it left me longing for the good ole days.
By now, it’s no secret how poorly attended this year’s event was. It’s easy to blame it on the economy, but there are some further-reaching dynamics at work here. Because Catalog Success, as well as our forthcoming repositioned All About ROI (click here to learn more), focuses on providing ways to improve your business, I don’t ordinarily care, or bother, to discuss industry events themselves.
But the National Catalog Conference-cum-Annual Catalog Conference-cum-that whole long title above has always been near and dear to me, even though I haven’t been a part of the company that co-sponsors it for nearly five years now. So in dissecting what went down in New Orleans, let me begin with the positives; then I’ll get into the reality of the situation.
1. The seminars: Since I’ve always spent more time attending the seminars, I’ll say that this year’s were as informative as ever. For years, attendees have told me that this event always has the best and most informative sessions, and this year’s sessions, while not necessarily the greatest, were still solid.
There were some exceptions. Some vendors were given more prominent positions and were a lot more self-serving and promotional than I’ve seen at an ACCM before. Fortunately, there were plenty more sessions that included more marketers and very useful information.
Attendancewise, some sessions drew quite well. But others drew less than a dozen people. Even worse, a few of the “Ask the Doctor Medical Center” consultants on hand to review catalogs and Web sites in the exhibit hall told me that very few attendees came up for their free critiques.