I recently attended the Omniture Summit 2011. This conference has really worked on transforming itself from purely a “users’ conference” to an Online / Digital Marketers’ Conference. As a web analyst, especially one who specialized in Omniture products, I have made it a point of attending this conference every year, since I started using Omniture SiteCatalyst in 2005. This year was definitely, in my mind, the best so far for a number of reasons.
Quality Keynote Speakers
This year the two featured keynote speakers were Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney, and John Gerzema, a world-renowned social theorist on consumerism and its impact on growth, innovation and strategy. They both were very engaging speakers and shared a lot of their wisdom with the attendees.
Michael Eisner’s keynote centered around the theme of “from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg,” looking at how far we’ve come since 1455 in the realm of mass communications. One point in particular that struck me was “to punish failure, is to encourage mediocrity.” His point being that everyone makes mistakes (he personally pointed out the failure of Disney’s Go.com to jump on the paid search bandwagon far too late to rescue that effort against Google and Yahoo). However, if you don’t take risks (and risk making errors), you end up wallowing in mediocrity and never have the chance to achieve something potentially great.
John Gerzema’s keynote centered around the theme of his newest book “Spend Shift.” He discussed concepts like consumers moving from “mindless spending to mindful spending.” Overwhelmingly consumers are migrating more towards brands that share similar values to their own and that they now value brands known for kindness and quality over brands known for mystery and trendiness.
Much Improved Breakout Sessions
The breakout sessions this year were very well done. In years past the breakout sessions felt more like sales pitches, and I often came away from them disappointed. Also there were often problems getting a seat at some of the more popular breakout sessions. This year there were a number of excellent changes to help reduce this. First they encouraged attendees to register for breakout sessions ahead of time – this allowed them to plan the capacity of each better. Additionally each breakout was done in 2 parts – the first half focused on the topic in general, presented by an Omniture speaker. Outside of the specific Omniture product focused sessions, there was a lot less “sales pitch” in these presentations. The second half of each breakout session was a case study from a current Omniture customer. All the ones I attended had very thoughtful case studies that illustrated the point of each session quite well.
It wouldn’t be an Omniture Summit without entertainment and this year there was once again plenty to be had – from the opening reception on Tuesday night, to the lavish party and concert on Wednesday night (with Lenny Kravitz this year), to the after and after-after parties thrown by the various executives from Adobe/Omniture.
That sums up exactly why I felt Omniture Summit 2011 was by far the best Omniture Summit I have yet attended.