It was hard work. As the daylong conference moderator, I came with a sword but ultimately went looking for consensus. MEDIA Maga - < had imposed on each of the five group leaders and their panels an opening resolve that took a bold position on the topic at hand. For "Branding vs. Direct," we wanted to know whether "The Internet is a niche medium useful only to direct marketers." Would any of those coveted brand dollars ever materialize from the big traditional marketers? "Pricing and Buying" took up the matter of CPMs, arcane terminology, and why buying online advertising is so damn complicated. "Measurement" tried to put an end to the debate over what constitutes an impression. The "Creative" panel faced the basic question of whether brilliance should take a backseat to effectiveness. And "Consolidation" contemplated a future ruled by AOL, Yahoo, and MSN.
Some of the final resolves could have been stronger; there's a lot of resistance to change--even if it's for the better. At the close of the day, the entire group ventured some predictions for the year ahead. Did we end up with anything of real value? Read the December issue of MEDIA Magazine (then order the taped proceedings at www.mediapost.com/F2tapes) and judge for yourself.