~ by Marty Shaw, Global-Z Director of Sales & Marketing

The National Etailing and Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA) fall conference was held in Providence, Rhode Island recently. The event was dubbed DirectXchange, with the tag line “Catch a wave: Recognize rising trends and ride them to success”. Right in line with NEMOA’s mission this year’s fall conference provided a wonderful opportunity to “SHARE knowledge, LEARN about industry trends and CONNECT with peers and experts in a non-selling environment.” I wanted to share just a few highlights from the two days that were packed full and well worth the time and investment. If you’ve never been to a NEMOA conference I highly recommend it!

The most enjoyable and crowd-pleasing session (more like a comedy routine) was Scott Stratten’s on what he refers to as  “Un-Marketing”. Scott emphasized that marketing is not a task. “Your brand is defined by your customer set.” Anyone in any organization is a marketer since arguably each person in an organization has an impact on how others experience their (our / your) organization. With great timing and emphatic tone Scott had attendees laughing as he shared his views on organizations that look to “rebrand” themselves. “’Rebrand’ is Latin for ‘waste of money!’”

One of the more pointed and funny slides was when Scott took on how effective… or NOT… QR codes are for marketers, when comparing them to, say, using our mobile phones to make a phone call rather than scan a QR code:

Break It Down For Me Fellas

  • 85% of people have a cell phone
  • 50% of phones are capable of scanning a QR code
  • 17% have scanned a QR code
  • 50% were successful and would use again
  • 3.6% of people total
  • 99% of people can call a phone number with their phone (1% variance)

I guess QR codes have a way to go before they are effective tools to include in our marketing kits, right? Scott recommends you check out this blog of Pictures of People Scanning QR Codes.

Beyond the great presentation and belly laughs Scott provided there were a host of other sessions which offered strategy and insight into how each of the attendees can “recognize rising trends and ride them to success”.

During a keynote session Giovanni Feroce, CEO from Alex and Ani presented “Ride the Wave: Stress the Importance of Customer Interaction”. Drawing on his military experience, while advocating organizations should hire young people, Giovanni said “If you could show me a 28-year-old General I will show you a better army.” During the Q&A time his advice, when asked what he recommends marketing professionals read, he said “Read outside your industry for strategies and tactics, like Inc. Magazine and Fast Company.” Somewhat controversial, I feel, Giovanni said that “Alex and Ani is rising to cult status.” He attributed this to the high quality of their products and their “positive energy” amongst all their employees. “I’ve let someone go for not saying ‘good morning’.” Okay, that’s extreme.

On the heels of Giovanni’s presentation was Andy James from New Pig; “Hotdogging with the Piggers”. Andy pointed out that the fun he was poking at often-used military terms marketers turn to – email BLAST, catalog DROP (picture of a bomber included)—were not in opposition to Giovanni’s presentation, but entertaining and informative nonetheless. Andy compared the “glossy” Super Bowl ad style with that of “gritty” Zappos’ ad style, highlighting that Zappos’ facets of marketing and branding are much more effective in the new marketing environment of today.

Other sessions that were information rich that I attended included Scott Drayer from Paul Fredrick and others presenting on revenue attribution. Scott called the session “Attribution: Making better decisions despite imperfect data” while co-presenters emphasized that we need to know what revenue attribution is and what it isn’t; that attribution is not channel preference, it is list source or name segment performance tracking.

We all headed to the recently refurbished Providence Public Library after the first day of the conference, to catch up with friends and meet new folks, all with a Hawaiian theme. NEMOA organizers pulled together a beach party extravaganza in the Ocean State that was a lot of fun!

I’ve only touched on a few highlights that stood out to me from the many sessions I benefited from. I encourage you to check NEMOA out if you have not before. I suspect you, too, will have fun, meet friends and stand on the shoulders of those that have “been there” to help gain insight into what may be ahead in your organization and how best to ride the wave.

If you attended this recent NEMOA conference please comment on what you thought about it.