A convergence of thought leaders in cross-media communications

The IPA Leadership Conference is coming up quickly: February 4th through 6th in Scottsdale, Arizona.  In addition to getting away from the cold, you can learn some important things at this important event that will bring your business in from the cold. The agenda is short on graphic arts professionals speaking to each other and long on opportunities to hear directly from thought leaders in the marketing space about what they are doing, how they are buying and what their requirements are in this dynamic, fast-paced, economically struggling world we find ourselves in.

Day One is kicked off with a keynote by the former chief marketing officer of Walmart and Daimler-Chrysler, Julie Roehm, Best Practices in this Brave New World of Marketing. I caught up with Julie as she was waiting to board a plane. “I like what the conference organizers have done,” she told me, “starting out with someone like me, not someone from the printing industry per se. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, we are all facing the same macro problem, our ability to market our products and the innovations we have to develop to stay current and top of mind.”  She points out that new ways to penetrate the market are being thrown at marketers all the time—everything from social media to gaming and 3D advertising. “Everything points to digital in one way or another,” she added. “Sometimes when you are living in your industry, you get mired in it and don’t take the time to look at the bigger picture. My hope is that this conference will provide that bigger picture and give attendees fresh perspectives and ideas.”  Roehm will also be moderating an interactive discussion on proven marketing execution best practices.

You’ll certainly want to stick around for the Day Two keynote.  Liz Brohan, President and co-CEO of Interactive Marketing Firm Colman Brohan Davis will give a talk titled Lead Gen to Gen Y: Preparing for the New B2B Buyer. Brohan’s firm recently concluded definitive and groundbreaking research into how Gen Y (or Millenials, as many prefer to be called) pursue B2B purchasing activities. A Purple Paper, as she calls it, summarizes the results, and they are likely to surprise you.  Keep in mind that the leading edge of Millenials are in their late 20’s, have been in the job market for some time and are no longer entry level.  Rather, they are influencers or decisionmakers in their respective companies.  I asked Liz whether copies of the purple paper will be available at the conference, and she said, “No. We prefer that people start to use some of the things we are preaching, so we are encouraging them to download.  You can find this very informative paper, along with others, on the CBD site for free download and get a head start on the conference.  Here’s a teaser quote:

While many B2B marketers have a sophisticated understanding of emerging technologies, they have not changed the customer engagement model to help them leverage Gen Y’s favorite tools: social networking, peer marketing, better/faster online support, text messaging and blogging, just to name a few. More importantly, B2B marketers don’t have a clear understanding of how this individual researches and forms recommendations in the purchase of business products and services.[1]

“We are very excited to be participating in this rather prestigious event,” she added. “Millenials use the online channel much differently in how they research and how you get included in the considered set. We all have to be prepared to understand and execute against these differences.”

Brohan will also be moderating an interactive panel on new and emerging media.

Don’t pack up your bags to leave just yet.  The Day Three keynote features veteran Silicon Valley reporter Dan Gillmore, who has covered the bubble, boom, bust and continuing evolution of the tech industry for over a decade.  He will talk about New Media Entrepreneurship: Making the Jump. Dan’s insight will certainly cause you to stop and think about traditional and new media in ways you might not of thought of in the past.

This just scratches the surface of the 2010 IPA Leadership Conference.  We hope you will be there.  Just enter the special code WTT when registering to get your $100 discount, and be prepared to come away enthused, refreshed and ready to take your business in a new and different direction.


[1] Lead Gen to Gen Y: Prepare for the New B2B Buyer, a “Purple Paper” produced by Colman Brohan Davis