These are generally so valuable that the major players come in a day early just to spend more time with each other. In this case, there was a seller's summit run as usual by Doug Weaver. I'm going to ask Doug to post something on this summit if he can. All of the seller's summit attendees were hyped about the day on Sunday. In addition, the brands had a day for themselves on Sunday behind closed doors. No report yet, but I'm asking a couple of the brand folks to report back.
In the U.S., (iMedia is about to go global, more on that later this week) the summits generally start on Sunday night with a cocktail and buffet/heavy munchies feed. The food at this event is usually the best and the drinks are flowing. For someone like me, it is old home week. Every time I turn around, there is someone to chat with who we have done business with and/or who I have had great conversations with over the years. I've been attending these events since the Deer Valley Agency Summit in 2001 and they NEVER fail to be great. In addition to the chat ups, I always come away with people to follow up with on deals, problems resolved or new deals made. In addition, I always make new friends and start conversations with new clients, partners and vendors. I know that life is not just about work, but if you gotta work, there is no better way to do it.
Rick Parkhill, the highly regarded founder of iMedia plopped his birthday smack into the middle of this summit. I was honored to be invited to an intimate birthday party at the Boathouse Restaurant in Coronado on Sunday night. We squeezed that in between early cocktails and a late appearance at the Sunday night cocktail event. Great conversation and a look back at the history of iMedia. Was reminded how people came from all over the country to Deer Valley just two short months after 9/11. This is the power of these events. Most people there would not have gotten on a plane for any other reason. At the end of the night, Rick was awarded his own mini super hero doll, surf board and everything. I've also attached pictures of the Rick on a stick pictures that we greeted him with and the whole group, actually standing after dinner.
On Monday, after Mr. Parkhill did one of his legendary impersonations (This one was of the Great Karnac, I think he was called Parnac) to kick off the morning, Sean Finnegan delivered the keynote. http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16577.asp He talked about the dialogue with the consumer being more than just a relationship, it needed to be a friendship. Nice job, Sean!
Right on the heels of the keynote, my panel took place. http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/16576.asp It was moderated by Susan MacDermid of Real Branding who did a fine job of keeping four large egos in place. Any one of the panelists could have talked for hours about the impact of Emerging Technologies on the planning function today. It boils down to the fact that you can no longer take last year's plan, add 7%, put aside a little money for experimentation and move on to more exciting things. The excitement is in the planning and execution of the new opportunities that face marketers today. Watch the iMedia site for the posting of the video on this session. Fine job by Jack Haber of Colgate-Palmolive, Alan Schulman of IMC2, Joe Jaffe of Crayon and yours truly. We'll add the video to this blog as it becomes. In addition, there was content prepared that we did not have time to present. I'll add links to that as it is posted.
After the panel, iMedia did their "One Minute Match-ups". Think speed dating for business. This aspect of their event is new in the last year and still being slightly debugged, but I unbelievably came away with more than a dozen quality follow ups with brand marketers who need solutions they are not getting from their current partners.
Alas, I need to leave this Summit early (first time ever!) as Karen and I are headed to Sydney tonight. (Yes we are flying on 9/11...I wondered how we got such a great deal...). We're flying from SFO to Sydney non-stop. 14 hours. But we will be upstairs in the 747 in business class. Stay tuned for more on our adventures.