There's a Radio in my Head

Friday, February 24, 2006

What to do between sessions

The sessions last almost all day long. Each morning, there's a general session which lasts from 8 until after 11. The early afternoon Track sessions lasts from 11:50 until 1:45, then we break for lunch (provided by a vendor). The Track sessions resume at 3:15 and end at 6:15.

There are three Tracks, each one loosely categorized. On Day One, I stayed on the Search & Metrics track. As stated below, here when people are referring to "search" it's almost always search engine marketing, not onsite search. In addition, most of the metrics discussed thus far have focused on tracking search engine marketing. Search engine marketing is a major, major facet of everybody's online store, obviously.

On Day Two, I hopped around instead of staying with one Track. In the early afternoon session, I worked the Multi-Channel track, and after lunch I dropped in on Multi-Aspect (which if it were a Jeopardy category would have been called Potpourri).

Unfortunately, some of the session titles don't actually correspond to what is actually discussed. "Customizing & Personalizing Your Product Mix Based on Proven Shopping Behavior" was actually about A/B testing - which was great, but not what I expected.

There are several breaks throughout the day, with refreshments provided by vendors in "The Solution Zone." The Solution Zone is in one of the ballrooms (which are huge) where all of the vendors have set up shop. There are about 6 long rows of booths. Surprisingly, the swag is relatively lame - lots of pens. Whoopee. I made a point to make courtesy calls on all of the vendors we currently work with, those we're thinking about working with, and those that grabbed my attention. Predictably, there are vendors with promising services, and others with not-so-promising services. Some of the vendors are very aggressive, and zoom in on your name badge and act like you're best buddies (if "I told you a year ago we're not interested and I'm tired of erasing your voice mail messages" equates to being "best buddies").

Some vendors have give-aways, and almost all of them are iPods. One vendor stood out, however. Omniture is giving away a Segway (here modeled by Kyler Bell and Jim Osborne, from Canada's largest food distributor, Loblaw). Should I win, I have no clue what to do with it. Albemarle County isn't quite Segway-friendly.

After the session ends, it's a short and nice drive back to the hotel I'm staying in. One thing about this area: there's almost a golf course on every block. This makes the blocks very long - easily 3/4 of a mile in many cases, maybe longer. Each hotel and housing development (typically a gated community) seems to be surrounded by its own course. The hotel I'm in actually has a "golf concierge." The greens fees are outrageous, so I haven't taken the time to work on my short game while here.


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