I just came back from Red Herring's CMO 2006,its elite conference for Chief Marketing Officers, and I was blown away by the quality of the program and attendees. DASAR, Red Herring magazine's holding company, a former client, hosted the event. But I attended for myself. I wanted to learn what other senior marketing people were thinking about, how they were addressing the challenges of their markets and their increasingly complex roles. And I also wanted to meet Larry Weber, one of the conference keynote speakers, a personal hero, the man who built Weber Shandwick (the world's largest technology PR firm) and a real visionary in how the Internet is changing the way we communicate. (I will do a separate post on him shortly.) What an amazing experience.
Lead by Alex Vieux the visionary founder and head of DASAR, I listened to an All Star line up of who's who in the marketing world and thoroughly enjoyed the interviews, presentations and panels and discussions in and around the event.
Topics of discussion included:
. How to position and
segment the market for a "different" kind of media company, by Joe Gillespie, Exec VP of CNET, who spearheaded
CNET's expansion and new business model.
. Building an common architecture and strategy for user-generated content and viral marketing by Gil Penchina, VP of Europe for eBay, formerly head of its online marketing strategy.
. A refreshing comparison of marketing's role at a consumer company versus marketing's role at a technology company, by Carol Kurimsky, VP Marketing North America for Ingram Micro, who comes out of senior brand positions at Proctor and Gamble.
. Reaching digital constituencies by Larry Weber, (head of the W2 Group) a global marketing services company based on both traditional and new media services.
I also attended some excellent panels. What was striking for me was the level of attendees and the perspective each brought to the discussion. I don't think I have ever attended a similar high-level marketing event. Conference attendees some 70 marketing profesionals, included the Global Brand Manager for HP, the CMO's of Pitney Bowes, BEA, CheckPoint Software, Qualcomm , Network Appliance, and Sales.force com, and many others. And in and around the meetings I discussed the use and application of marketing dashboards with Gail Ennis (VP Marketing, Omniture), metrics used to monitor the effectiveness of PR with Bethany Mayer (CMO, Mirapoint), Chris Baggott (co-founder and CMO for Exact Target, an on demand email software firm whose blog was voted "Best of the Web by Forbes) speak about new media, and enterprise-wide RSS with Mark Carlson, CEO and founder of SimpleFeed a start up that provides RSS.
It was marketing person's heaven, and I came back enlivened, full of new ideas and admiration for those in my profession.
This was the first time that Red Herring has sponsored such an event, and I am under the impression they made the decision to do so only a few weeks before. As a result I don't know how well CMO 2006 was publicized, but I heartily recommend it. Alex Vieux, several times selected one of the most visionary entrepreneurs by Time's digital magazine, is very tuned into marketing and sales, and his new conference reflects it.