NEMOA Speaker: It's Time to Leverage the New Media

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CAMBRIDGE, MA -- It's not exactly news that various media sources bombard consumers with thousands of commercial messages every day. However, multimedia professor Rob Williams would like catalogers to consider another way to leverage this new media culture to break through the clutter, he said Friday during the New England Mail Order Association's spring conference.

Williams' idea is to invite customers into the story-telling process for a particular product or service using interactive media. To illustrate, he asked students in a video production class at Burlington College in Vermont to research NEMOA companies online and make a short video or radio ad for them.

The students produced pieces for companies such as Bliss, Lego, Planet Dog, Vermont Country Store and Green Mountain Country Roasters. The audience laughed and clapped for all of the ads, which presented these brands in ways that the companies themselves probably had never thought of.

A piece for Lego, for example, showed two college men sitting on a couch complaining about how bored they are with video games and television. Miraculously, Lego pieces appear on the table and they begin playing.

Thanks to the digitization of media, just about anyone can make a video these days. So why not create a space on your Web site where customers can download videos or photos that incorporate your products somehow. Of course, some filtering method would be needed, he said.

"People are looking for outlets for their own creativity now that we've democratized media," Williams said, adding that catalogers should think about leveraging that. If you "co-create meaning for your products [with customers], it could be an enhancement of your marketing efforts now."

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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