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@d:tech to Stress Building for the Future

The tone of this week's @d:tech conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center is expected to be upbeat despite the pessimism that has overtaken the industry during the past year.

Many of the sessions will take a decidedly long-term approach, stressing the need to build for the future. Attendees will be encouraged to shake the dark cloud of the “dot-com meltdown” and embrace interactivity as the hope for the future of online advertising.

Richy Glassberg, president/CEO of Phase2Media, New York, and vice chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, is one of three keynote speakers at this year's show. He said he will stress the need for advertisers and marketers to develop a 10-point plan to get their ad campaigns on track. His recommendations involve research and thorough planning.

“I'm certainly not going there to give them a wake,” Glassberg said. “But it won't be Mardi Gras either.”

He said that “a sense of reality” has returned to the industry, brought on by the economic downturn of the past year. The dot-com start-ups with grandiose plans and too much venture capital funding have given way to more traditional advertisers looking to spend their ad budgets prudently on television, Internet and e-mail marketing campaigns, he said.

“Where will the spending be directed now?” he asked. “I think you'll see it go to direct mail, television and newspapers. There will be a shift to traditional media.”

He noted that in the past year, 72 percent of the business at Phase2Media has shifted toward traditional media.

Imark Communications, Natick, MA, which sponsors @d:tech and other business-to-business conferences, said it expects more than 4,000 people to attend the Los Angeles show, which run from Wednesday to Friday. As of April 23, it had signed about 115 exhibitors.

The company is optimistic about the success of its show because it moved the venue from a local hotel to the larger convention center. The New York show in November had 175 exhibitors, up 25 percent from May 2000.

“At a time when advertisers and investors are demanding programs that deliver quantifiable ROI, interactive marketing professionals need to know what works,” said Jason Hester, @d:tech's content director.

Hester noted that this show will feature a Streaming Media Showcase that will highlight streaming media content and delivery options. Scheduled to present during the showcase are RealNetworks, Microsoft and First Look. He said the showcase will reveal usage and results data from recent streaming media campaigns.

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