Direct marketers seeking Reality Now!

The Canadian Direct Marketing Association has made interactive marketing the theme for its fall conference to be held Sept. 30 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.Organizers have titled the conference Reality Now!, strongly hinting at the frustration of an industry that...

The Canadian Direct Marketing Association has made interactive marketing the theme for its fall conference to be held Sept. 30 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Organizers have titled the conference Reality Now!, strongly hinting at the frustration of an industry that wants to stop talking solely of potential and start talking about opportunity.

‘We want to take the hype out of the information highway,’ says Cheryl Young, chairman of the fall conference. ‘We want to talk about it practically, not theoretically.’

The one-day event will include sessions on new technologies, infomercials and direct response tv and radio, publishing, telecommunications, interactive television and multimedia.

Panel moderators were chosen on the basis of their practical experience with interactive marketing, and only people who could discuss tangible results were encouraged to join the discussion panels.

‘We said, `If you can’t talk about results, don’t come,’ and some did decline,’ says Young, who is director of travel management services marketing, Amex Bank of Canada.

The need for hard data came after ad agencies told the cdma they were having a hard time moving their clients towards interactive marketing without being able to supply them with concrete examples of success.

The panel discussion format was adopted to help communicate a great deal of information in a short period of time.

‘There will be a tremendous amount of information compressed into a single day,’ Young says.

Andrew Prozes, president of Southam City and Community Newspapers, and Paul Robertson, senior vice-president of programming and marketing at ctv, will provide the keynote addresses.

The rest of the day will be taken up with panel discussions.

There will be two sessions running concurrently at 10:15 a.m.

The Infomercials/DRTV/ Radio session will be moderated by Sarah Simpson, director of client services, Ogilvy & Mather Direct Toronto.

The Ogilvy & Mather Direct Response Media unit, started by Simpson last year, is the largest buyer of direct response television in Canada.

‘I’m going to talk about the potential of television,’ Simpson says. ‘Where it is now, and where it’s going, and how to include it in your marketing mix.’

‘It will be very much geared to the near future – not about what our grandchildren will be doing, but what we’ll be doing in the next five years.’

Sitting on the panel will be Brian Jones of the Radio Marketing Bureau, Glyn Kirby of Young & Rubicam Canada, Heather MacPherson of Unitel Communications, Richard Stacey of Northern Response (Canada), and Robert G. Woodroofe of the Interwood Marketing Group.

The New Technologies session will be moderated by Barbara Canning Brown, president of BCB & Associates, Strategy direct marketing columnist and an expert in catalogue and database marketing.

Richard Martin of Apple Canada, Ellie Rubin of the Bulldog Group, and Rick Stewart of fx, will also be participating in this session.

Both the publishing and the telecommunications seminars will be at 2 p.m.

Nancy Major of Stentor Resource Centre will be moderating the telecommunications session.

Charlie Bartlett of Phoneworks Canada, Peter Lockhard of the 2PM Group, and David Longden of Longden Curtis will also be involved.

‘I’m going to leave the session open to the panelists,’ Major says.

‘One of them will be focussing on fax, one on 900 service,’ she says. ‘We’ll focus on how they use existing telecommunications services in their businesses today.’

James Shenkman, president and executive publisher at Brunico Communications, publisher of Strategy, will moderate the 2 p.m. publishing session.

Charlotte F. Burke of Sony Canada and Peter J. Brennan of Tele-Publishing will also be on the panel.

The 3:45 p.m. session on television will be moderated by Cam Fellman of the Television Bureau of Canada.

Also speaking at that session will be Ave Butensky of the Television Bureau of Advertising, David Masotti of Rogers Cablesystems, and Ken Nickerson of Microsoft.

‘We’re going to talk mainly about what’s being done now,’ Fellman says. ‘What’s being done in some of the interactive television tests. Then, Dave Masotti will tell a little about what will happen in the future.’

The multimedia session, also held at 3:45 p.m., will be moderated by Robert Whent of McGill Multimedia.

Whent says the panel will be talking about how far multimedia has come in the last year.

He says cd-i [CD-Rom Interactive] in particular should be of key interest to participants.

‘cd-i is really exploding worldwide now as a multimedia platform,’ Whent says.

‘The main interest comes from the fact that all the fence-sitters seem to be getting off the fence,’ he says ‘They’ve finally decided to do something.’

Whent says interactive kiosks will also be discussed.

Wayne J. Arcus of Discis, Betty Anne Cooper and Meredith Flynn of Ogilvy & Mather Direct, Peter Cellarius of Stentor, and Bohdan Myroniw of Mammoth Micro Productions will also be on the panel.

‘We want people to come away from the conference with some practical experience and confidence in interactive marketing,’ Young says.