OMMA Global New York Conference – The New Normal

I’m spending today and tomorrow at the OMMA (Online Media, Marketing, and Advertising) Conference in New York.  It’s an official event of Advertising Week 2010, put together by MediaPost.  In addition to a general session with speakers ranging from Arianna Huffington to marketing managers of leading technology companies, there are break-out tracks for Online Publishing, Media Planning, Marketing, and Advertising.  They further break down each session into topics that also include Video, Social, Mobile, etc.  Since there isn’t a “Social” track, I’ll be bouncing between Marketing, Online Publishing, and Media Planning to get my fix.

As is my usual behavior at conferences like these, I’ll be sharing a few general posts on the event as well as in-depth posts on speeches and panels of note.  Per the opening remarks by Kenneth Fadner, Chairman and Publisher of MediaPost, the theme of this conference is “Paradise Found (or Lost?)”.  The former state is an optimistic view of the online economy, as its share of total business revenue continues to grow.  The latter state is a recognition that the new normal may best be described by the classic WWII acronym, SNAFU (Situtation Normal, All F***ed Up – sorry, I’ve got to keep this blog safe for work!)

#OMMAGlobal is the hashtag for the events today and tomorrow.  MediaPost is also live-blogging the event, but I’ll leave finding those posts as an exercise for the reader.  After all, I can’t help out the competition TOO much, especially when they’re so much bigger than me!

Max Kalehoff, VP of Marketing at Clickable, continued the discussion on the Paradise Found/Lost discussion.  He’s on the positive side of the discussion, in large part to his latest startup’s success in leveraging the current change online.  He asked “what is the new normal?” and introduced Gord Hotchkiss to explain “The SNAFU syndrome”.  Hotchkiss recognizes that we are in the midst of a huge transition, for example, the movement into impossibly short timelines (in order to keep on so-called “internet time”.)  Technology is creating a “regime transition” as businesses need to learn new rules and change their behaviors.  As technology drives new demand, companies succeed or fail based on how well they can adapt, embrace risk, and satisfy this demand.  In this case, there is no one from whom you can learn, as everyone is going through the same changes at the same time (as I like to describe it, you’re now living inside a case study.)

The good news is that those who can survive the transition and embrace the new technologies can take advantage of this growing demand.  Hotchkiss notes that the success drivers of companies like Amazon and Zappos don’t lie in “funky lunches” but in knowing and staying in line with their identities.  They maintain and live by their core values, encouraging innovation and change as long as that growth is in line with their end goals.  Companies with strong values and strong missions naturally exude excitement.  The strong culture of these companies empowers evangelists and creates positive feedback for their strategies.  Ironically, success is preceded by an embrace of failure; unless employees are allowed to fail, they will not embrace the necessary risks for real success and growth.

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