DMA:2011 Conference Crib Sheet

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Consumers may be everywhere at once these days – but since you can't be everywhere at once at DMA, here are some of our picks for must-see panel discussions, keynotes and other events during the annual convention. (Word of warning: some of these are concurrent sessions, so might want to bring along your avatar to Bean Town.)

DMA Keynotes

Date: Monday, Oct. 3

Time: 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Why: Biz Stone, the cofounder of Twitter who since leaving the social network has returned to his pre-superstar roots with a startup incubator, speaks in the morning, hopefully giving us a peek at the next big thing he's cooking up. Meanwhile, stick around for a rare, early-evening keynote featuring Grady Burnett, VP/global marketing solutions at a little company you might have heard of, Facebook, for what's being billed as “An Insider's View of Real-Time Customer Engagement.”

"Why You Need a New Media Ringmaster"

Date: Monday, Oct. 3

Time: 11:15 a.m.

Why: One of the raging debates: to appoint or not to appoint a social media guru. Here, the marketers themselves sound off, including Michael Donnelly, group director, global connections at The Coca-Cola Co., and Zena Weist, director of social media at H&R Block.

"Creative Masterclass"

Date: Monday, Oct. 3

Time: 11:15 a.m.

Why: A wide-ranging discussion encompassing “the explosion of social media and the resuscitation of direct mail,” the aim here is to pump up the content of your messages and maximize responses. Herschell Gordon Lewis, president of Lewis Enterprises, will give you the lowdown.

"Tracktivation: Moving Nascar Fans to Nationwide Customers"

Date: Monday, Oct. 3

Time: 11:15 a.m.

Why: This session promises actionable advice on driving results by combining interactive elements throughout a cross-channel campaign. Dennis Giglio, AVP of digital marketing at Nationwide Insurance, and Raghu Kakarala, chief strategy officer at Enguage, will take the wheel.

"The Next Extraordinary Marketing Opportunity: Healthcare Reform"

Date: Monday, Oct. 3

Time: 11:15 a.m.

Why: Today, there are 51 million Americans without health insurance – yet the legislation President Obama signed into law promises access to 30 million. Lindsay Resnick, CMO of KBM Group: Health Services, and Carl McDonald, director at Citigroup, will examine how to tap into those prospects.

"Make No Misteak: How Morton's Uses Database to Drive Loyalty"

Date: Monday, Oct. 3

Time: 3 p.m.

Why: OK, so the title made us just a tad carnivorous. This session promises secrets of how the steakhouse chain has used its database to develop customer segments, field customer feedback and track loyalty. Patty Pleuss, VP of marketing and sales at Morton's, and Brad Rukstales, president and CEO of Customer Asset Consulting Group, will serve up solutions.

"How Anyone Can Be More Creative in 3 Easy Steps"

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 5

Time: 8:45 a.m.

Why: Who doesn't want to be more creative? More to the point, in these times of media saturation and all-over-the-place consumer targets, who doesn't need to be more creative? Nancy Harhut, chief creative officer of The Wilde Agency, will touch on points including how “thinking like a scientist” can actually lead to creative solutions in crafting your marketing messages.

"Overcoming Obstacles to Build Event Attendance"

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 5

Time: 10 a.m.

Why: Getting people to attend technology events for developers in a down economy and when T&E budgets are being slashed is a challenge, to say the least. This discussion will feature insights by Kelly Soligon, director of integrated marketing at Microsoft, and Julie Rezek, VP and global client services director of Wunderman.

"Pandora's Cross-Platform Strategy"

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 5

Time: 10 a.m.

Why: Pandora has evolved from an online-only platform to a multi-platform one encompassing mobile, consumer electronics, even appliances to reach consumers wherever they are, whichever gadgets they happen to be using. Aimee Higgins, SVP of strategic sales development at Pandora, will tune us into the company's strategy.

"How WWE Uses Customer Insights to Drive Higher ROI Online"

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 5

Time: 10 a.m.

Why: Here's a session that has everything. Professional wrestling? Check. Driving greater ROI online? Check. World Wrestling Entertainment managed to boost online sales of its merchandise by almost $500,000 taking “behavioral targeting baby steps.” John Bancroft, VP of e-commerce and retail marketing at WWE, and Chris Marriott, VP of global agency services at Acxiom, will throw down.

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