I'm in San Diego attending the first Email Experience Council's Email Evolution conference. This conference represents the DMA's ongoing efforts to be a thought leader in the interactive space, and
certainly a step in the right direction to make up for some past missteps in its approach to interactive. Certainly email, with its direct marketing emphasis, is a channel or (as Dr. Ramesh
Lakshimi-Ratan put it in the morning's keynote) a platform that the DMA should own as a trade organization.
And based on this morning's opening remarks, and the flurry of press releases
announcing email-related initiatives, "own it" is exactly what they plan on doing. As most know, the DMA purchased the Experience Council a number of months ago and a number of people, including
myself, were skeptical and concerned that the EEC would suffer the fate of the DMA's last foray into interactive marketing, AIM, which became ineffectual and eventually disbanded. The DMA seems
determined not to let history repeat itself. A clearly ecstatic Dr. Lakshimi-Ratan was enthusiastically stating that this was just the beginning at last night's kickoff harbor cruise event.
This morning the EEC announced a Digital Lifestyle panel to explore and promote the integration of email into other digital channels such as mobile, social networking, blogs and RSS. In another
announcement, the Email Accuracy Coalition will now be rolled up under the EEC's umbrella as well. The group also announced that business generated from email had climbed from $19 billion in 2006 to
$23 billion in 2007 and that ROI for email is now $50 for every dollar spent.
So far the event itself seems well-attended, especially for a first-time conference, with the DMA claiming
500 attendees, although it seemed more like 350 to many of the exhibitors and vendors I spoke with. Attendees also seemed to be weighted towards the vendor and ESP side of the fence, and the DMA will
need to attract more marketers in order to build on what they've started -- but everyone seemed happy with the networking opportunities, and they seem off to a good start.
You can read
more about the conference from some of the live blogs of the event like this one: http://www.b2bemailmarketing.com/