Industry Perspective From La Costa: IAB's Leadership Meeting 2010

  • by , Featured Contributor, February 25, 2010

For many in the digital industry, this week started off at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Annual Leadership Meeting at La Costa in Carlsbad, Calif. The industry and its trade association have come a long way from those first  meetings in San Francisco and New York City back in 1996. Virtually all of the digital ad industry leaders were at the conference this year. Having attended the vast majority of the IAB's annual meetings over the past years, I was open to the industry perspective provided. Here are some of the takeaways:

How far we have come. Randy Rothenberg, IAB president, led off the event with a twin-themed keynote. First he praised the industry for its progress and painted a powerful picture of its future. But then he tempered the positives with a stern warning about public policy attacks -- on issues ranging from privacy to censorship -- that the digital ad industry must prepare for. That message was certainly driven home by yesterday's criminal convictions in Italy of several Google executives related to content hosted on its sevice.



How many we owe. It was great to see a number of early IAB leaders in attendance. Rich LeFurgy and Richy Glassberg, the IAB's founding chairman and vice-chairman respectively, were both at La Costa. It was their vision and hard work that created the IAB and helped nurture it through the go-go years of the late '90s and 2000. Former IAB president Greg Stuart was there. Greg, together with his board -- including event honorees Wenda Millard and Jim Spanfeller -- brought the industry out of the nuclear winter that followed the dot-com bust.  They also introduced ground-breaking cross-media research that put the industry within the same considered set of its much bigger media brethren of broadcast, print and out-of-home. Our industry owes these leaders -- along with all of the thousands who worked with them to get us where we are today.

What we can't lose. 24/7 Real Media head David Moore, the longest-serving CEO in the online industry and the incoming chairman of the IAB, delivered a powerful speech forecasting a marketplace that would support both highly automated networks and exchanges, and premium content publishing. Moore challenged premium Web publishers to build dual revenue streams to ensure that premium content thrived online. A veteran of the birth of the cable industry, he advocated building consumer pay models as the early cable networks did.

What must be fixed. Frank Cooper, Pepsico's senior vice president and chief consumer engagement officer, talked about his company's decision to pull its ad budget from the Super Bowl this year to invest in social media. He explained why brand marketing was in "crisis." To reconnect with consumers, he suggested that brand marketers rethink the fundamentals of the practice, redesign relationships with consumers, and build future approaches around social networks. His message was clear: Companies that follow the old advertising paths will go away.

I'm sure I sound like a bit of a cheerleader here. I am. It's exciting to see how far digital advertising has come. It's exciting to think about its future beyond the PC, since we're seeing strong emerging consumer platforms in mobile and digital TV. What do you think 2010 will bring to our industry?

3 comments about "Industry Perspective From La Costa: IAB's Leadership Meeting 2010".
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  1. Bob Desena from Engagement Marketing Group, February 25, 2010 at 2:03 p.m.

    Good thoughts as always Dave. What 2010 must bring is the beginning of the real convergence of our industry's (that's the marketing industry) disciplines. If, as Frank Cooper of Pepsico says, brand marketing is in crisis, and if the proven processes of direct marketing (including databased relationship marketing), need to find their digital identity, now is the time to call the practicioners together. With a common purpose to understand, engage and serve a consumer in control, maybe a marketing summit is called for. What do you think?

  2. Alejandro Garnica from MA Consultores, February 25, 2010 at 4:21 p.m.

    Thanks for this brilliant summary. It helps a lot to all of us not attending the event.
    Is it possible to see the actual presentations? Where?

  3. Greg Stuart, February 26, 2010 at 10:50 a.m.

    Thanks for the shout out Dave. You were there and it was a complete Nuclear winter in 2001 when Jim, Wenda and the rest of the Board set out to change the industry. Wenda in particular was one of biggest change agents in supporting me and the IAB to get things done. Shelby Bonnie and Steve Wadsworth too were major influences at the time. We (as an industry) would not be as a far as we are if not for their time and commitment.

    I love my time at the IAB and thrilled with what Randall has done to continue our efforts. It's become a legit group thanks to the Board and Randall. Nice to watch "our kid" grow up. Greg Stuart

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