My two week stint took in multiple Think Tank training days, the usual round of client and sales meetings, and, of course, the Unica MIS 2010 Conference as well as some family time in and around Disney. Like a full day in the Magic Kingdom, it was a pretty exhausting ride.I always enjoy doing the Think Tank sessions. They are meant to be smaller classes with more interactivity and advanced topics. So they usually draw a fairly sophisticated audience and are a pleasure to teach. Plus, we carve them up so we’re teaching classes in which we have a particular interest. My classes in DC were on Behavioral and Online Survey Integration and Data Warehousing and my NetInsight classes in Orlando at Unica’s MIS 2010 were on Functionalism, SEM Analytics, and Visitor Segmentation for Database Marketing.
If you’re reading this blog, you know these are topics I care about.
I thought the most interesting aspect of the Unica MIS Think Tank and the panel on visitor segmentation was how different the audience was from web analytics conferences. Unica’s flagship product is a campaign management solution. And the vast majority of attendees were deeply involved in campaign management and traditional segmentation. It made for an unusual panel session and class since the questions were from people who were more concerned with targeting than analytics. That’s healthy. Targeting is a huge analytic task and the melding of web analytics and campaign targeting would really benefit both disciplines.
I got to relive my old days in credit card database marketing and think a bit about how the work we’re doing in data warehousing, developing segmentations for testing and use-case analysis, and helping sites drive to PII-capture events like registration blends with and supports the increasing need for targeting based on online data.
The only real downer was that I was pretty sick during the last days of the Conference. I’ve been plagued by bronchitis for more than a month, but it went backwards on me in Orlando. From being an annoying but not very troublesome cough it ballooned to a full-blown achy-awful, congested fever. And, of course, it managed to peak right on the day of the training. To make matters worse, Jason Viger (who co-taught and did all the presentation driving) was similarly afflicted.I believe we got through it creditably enough though I suspect my presentation was a bit more “stately” than it might normally be.
The Unica Conference marks the end of the spring Conference season and for me, that also marks the beginning of the long ramp-up to X Change. As part of that ramp-up, nothing is more important to the success of the conference than getting great Huddle leaders with interesting topics. Picking the Huddle leaders is hard and it's easy. And it's hard and easy for exactly the same reason: there are so many good choices available.Which brings me home and to a quick recap of the X Change Press Release on Huddle Leaders that went out this past week. If you didn’t catch the announcement, here’s the gist.
The first group of Huddle leaders includes Shari Cleary of MTV Networks, Joe Megibow from Expedia, Adam Greco of Salesforce, Bob Page of eBay, Lynn Lanphier from Best Buy, John Howard of Lowes, David McBride of Comcast, Blandon Casenaves from NBC Universal, Alex Schultz of Facebook, Kim Weller of ESPN, Kelly Olin from Nike and Dylan Lewis of Intuit. That's a stellar group.
Some of these folks led Huddles last year (I caught Huddles by Adam, Lynn and David in 2009 – and they were all just excellent). Some of the others have been to X Change before and contributed mightily to the discussion. Some, like Joe and Blandon, haven’t been to X Change but are, of course, very well known in the industry. And some, like John Howard and Alex Schultz will be new but will prove, I am pretty sure, to be tremendous additions.
When you consider the companies in the list above – and most especially if you know and have talked to the leader’s themselves – you’ll have a great sense of what makes X Change unlike any other conference experience.
It’s the people.
It's the opportunity the conference affords not just to hear great people, but to talk with them and with each other. Because the beauty of X Change is the quality of the conversation that comes from an exchange of equals.The people that come as well as the people that lead are extraordinary professionals doing deeply interesting work in our field. If you care about online measurement, you will enjoy talking to, learning from, and sharing experiences with all of them.
As you probably know, X Change is a small conference – limited in size by the format. We don’t discount much and we sold out even in last year’s brutal conference climate. The earlier you register, the higher your ranking when it comes time to pick Huddles, so there’s really no reason to wait and plenty of good reason to go ahead and sign-up. I promise that it’s going to be the usual terrific event (and so far each year has been a little better than the year past). If you’re going to come, and you really should, you might as well register now.