This is my 21st go-round attending ACCM, the Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants (did I get that whole thing right?), being held May 21-23 in Boston. For my first 18, I was part of the assorted parent companies that co-sponsored the event with the DMA. But for the past two, as a press attendee and not a part-host, I’ve picked up a different perspective on this event as well as on some other conferences.
Actually, I take that back: This year, I’m sort of a part-host again on the other side of the partnership since I was recently named chairman/editor of the DMA Catalog & Multichannel Marketing Council newsletter and an OpCom member of that council. But ... whatever. What matters is that I see things differently, especially since now I feel like I have a similar mission to catalogers in mind when I attend these things than when I did in the past as a catalog “newshound.” Catalog Success tries to take in these events more like you do: Hunting down those ideas that you, our readers, can turn into profits.
Naturally, I’m still something of an outsider, an editorial observer. I focus most of my attention on seminars for marketable tips, the hallways surrounding them and all those vendors’ receptions, so I can schmooze with you folks and see what new things you’re doing (and are willing to talk about). I do roam the exhibit hall of ACCM and other conferences, looking for possible case study articles involving vendors’ catalog/multichannel clients, but not as much time as I spend on the other matters.
As with most catalog/multichannel-related conferences, there’s certainly a much greater emphasis — and interest among attendees — on all things e-commerce. Even the recent NCOF event had plenty of sessions focusing on fulfilling e-commerce orders. But then again, e-commerce-related conferences almost are becoming a dime a dozen. I believe there are now three E-tail conferences held per year: the Internet Retailer conference next month, the Shop.org conference, and the recent search engine marketing conference in New York. And the list goes on and on.