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From Where I Sit - Friday Musings

Game Changers: Day 1 of PMA's Annual Marketing Conference. "Attention is the New Currency"

By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk

I arrived back in Chicago on Tuesday to attend the PMA's Annual Marketing Conference in which Day 1 of the two-day conference took place yesterday. It's being held at the Westin North Hotel for the first time which is my first time staying here as well. They've picked up the theme from last year's conference, Game Changers, and added "The Rules are being rewritten. Don't be left behind".

PMA2012BThe folks at PMA asked me to moderate a panel at this year's conference which we called Building Brands through Promotion: Beyond Facebook. This was one of the first break out sessions that was held yesterday right after lunch. The focus of this session was on how to run promotions such as sweepstakes, contests, games through applications on Facebook to grow and engage with fans. Joining me was Mike Nabasny from Wildfire, Jim Belosic the founder of Shortstack and Kelly Lund who's with Capita Technologies. They each showed a brief presentation showing some different case studies that demonstrate how brands are using these apps to connect with their fans. The new changes for Facebook's Timeline for Brands was discussed as well as how to design your app for mobile. Thank you Mike, Jim and Kelly for a great session that was very well attended. So glad to finally meet you all.

DavidShingMost attendees that I spoke to during the day commented on how much, to their surprise, they enjoyed the opening keynote from David Shing from AOL. I say we were surprised because many of us still remember the old AOL who used to send us those CD's in massive direct mail campaigns, which David kidded about at the start of his presentation. When David took the stage, just by his presence, we knew it was going to be a different talk. He's got a creative background and was dressed in black, with crazy sneakers with wings on them and long black hair with a spike in the middle of his head.

David spoke about how the Communication Game is Changing, which we all know, but when you sum it all up like he did, you realize really how big of a change we are right NOW experiencing. He shared with us some interesting examples of the changes along with statements such as "Attention is the New Currency", and today it's all about "Influencer Marketing". Marketers today need to move to "conversations" and away from "campaigns". Thanks David for an insightful presentation.

The rest of the morning we got to hear from Cindy Donahoe, VP of Pharmacy Marketing at Walgreens. Cindy reviewed with us their "Arm Yourself" campaign which won the top Reggie Award last year. The campaign's focus was all about driving people to a Walgreens location to get their flu shot. Jim Sabia from Crown Imports then made us all want to sit on a beach and drink some Coronas. We did get a chance to drink a few Coronas at the cocktail hour later in the day! The Corona Summer Beach campaign, which included a beach trip giveaway sweepstakes promotion, delivered 845,000 incremental cases of volume over the past two years!

Subway's $5 Footlong has now become a $5 billion brand, instead of just a 4-week promotion that Tony Pace, CMO from Subway, told us. We all know the jingle that plays in our heads when you hear that term. Tony fought the team that wanted to originally go with a $4.99 pricing and ended up with a huge hit!

At the lunch break we were treated to an entertaining and insightful presentation form Jeff Rosenblum, who gave us a preview of the movie "The Naked Brand". Today all brands are transparent, whether they want to be or not. He used Crayola as an example of a brand that from customer reviews of one of their products, the Colored Bubble Launcher, has turned them into a brand that tortures kids and their parents (one tortured father was in the audience). Just go to Amazon and search for the product and you'll see what it's all about.

The most popular topic of the day however was who was taking credit for the amazing summer weather we experienced here in Chicago in the middle of March. I think the high was 81 degrees and it's going to be the same today! The Westin has a patio right on the river that we were able to step out on during breaks to get a breadth of fresh air an enjoy it. Thank you Chicago and the PMA for a great day. Day 2 begins shortly!

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