Robust Conference Bucks Downward Trend
With a reported 5,000 people in attendance, representing only a modest decline from 2008, last week’s Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Boston certainly brought many online marketers, retailers and catalogers out of the woodwork, bucking a troubling downward trend of the year’s catalog, direct marketing and retail conferences.
As I combed the event, spreading the word of our metamorphosis to All About ROI from Catalog Success, I naturally was gratified at the welcoming reception I received from nearly everyone I met — online retailers, catalogers, store retailers, brand merchants, vendors, etc. What I found even more gratifying was how our adjustment — from being a catalog/multichannel-specific information provider to one that intensely focuses on the integration of all marketing channels — mirrors what so many of the marketers I met are doing.
It’s obviously been a long time since merchandise sellers stopped relying on single channels, namely catalogs or stores. But if there’s a true, so-called “traditional” multichannel marketer — one that focuses on a single classic channel, then blends in a Web store, e-mail marketing and search — I came away from this event with the realization that that particular business model is actually becoming outdated, too.
The marketers I met or whose stories I heard about are more focused than ever on communicating with their customers in newer ways. For starters, the explosion in social media and SMS (i.e., texting) has dramatically changed how many consumers, most notably younger adults, interact. Then consider the simple fact that they can scoot through the commercials on TV with their DVR remotes. Add it all up and you have a growing portion of consumers who simply don’t want mass advertising anymore. They want to access brands in their own time, at their own paces and in their own ways. They don’t want to conform to communicating with you on your time.