Listing Reasons for Fast Forward 2006

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It's general knowledge in list and database marketing circles that the Direct Marketing Association's List Vision Conference has flagged in the past few years. The event has suffered the absence of support and attendance from senior decision makers. And they'll admit that on the record. That's why the DMA's new Fast Forward 2006 summit matters.

The Aug. 15 event is the day-before warm-up to this year's List Vision show. The target audience is senior marketing professionals who will discuss issues facing the evolving lists and customer data exchange process. Steve Forbes is keynote speaker. (Disclosure: DM News is a sponsor.)

Sessions will focus on branding and positioning, recruiting and retaining top talent, streamlining operations and data integration and consolidation. The approach is strategic, not tactical as most conferences are wont to be.

"The real underlying story here is that by creating a successful new lead-in to List Vision, Fast Forward may just serve to keep it alive and thriving," said Andy Ostroy, chairman/CEO of Belardi/Ostroy ALC. "Or Fast Forward could become a huge success, and List Vision could possibly continue down the direction toward its demise, which is why the list folks got together in the first place to try to either save it or create a new event ... This is not merely a story about a 'new show.'"

Fast Forward panelists include John Kilcullen, "For Dummies" book series founder and president/publisher of Billboard Information Group; Alan Momeyer, vice president of human resources for Loews Corp.; and Mark Friedman, chief digital marketing officer of Warnaco.

"Typically, list events center on what's particular to our industry, but not necessarily to us as business leaders and owners," said Linda McAleer, executive vice president at Millard Group. "This is an event to be taken seriously from both vantage points.

"Since we are trying to attract a certain caliber of attendee - top executives from list and/or mailer and/or list industry suppliers - the networking opportunities to meet and greet with our counterparts are unusual," she said.

The event has gotten C-level attention. On the development team are the bosses and key executives from IDG List Services, American List Counsel, Specialists Marketing Services, Direct Media, Millard, Belardi/Ostroy ALC, Adrea Rubin Marketing, 21st Century Marketing, RMI Direct Marketing and ParadyszMatera.

"There are many events throughout the year that we all attend," said Lon Mandel, president/CEO of Specialists Marketing. "Most of those have a theme, and that is meetings, meetings, meetings. These meetings are either with existing clients or prospects, and these events are always sales driven.

"This is finally a venue where the top industry leaders can come together and spend a day focusing on how to help our industry and our companies function better in a very tough business climate," he said.

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