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In the last month-plus, I’ve been lucky to participate in two conferences that are worth commenting on – and shortlisting for your potential attendance next year.

In early October, I participated in Forrester Research’s 2007 Consumer Forum. The agenda focused heavily on social media and potential applications for marketers and advertisers. I was particularly intrigued and inspired by Josh Bernoff’s call for a strategic approach to social media, Richard Edelman’s perspective on the role of corporate communications in the Web 2.0 world, and Henry Jenkins’s comments on convergence culture.

More recently, I spoke at the 2007 Word of Mouth Research Symposium, which was hosted by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. While there, I presented our report Influencing the Influencers, and I sat in on most of the other sessions over the course of the day.

Of special interest was “Measuring the Ripple: Creating the G2X Relay Rate and an Industry Standard Methodology to Measure the Spread of WOM Coversations and Marketing," which was presented by Matt McGlinn of BzzAgent and Dr. Walter Carl of ChatThreads. They’ve gone far to calculate the iterative effect of word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. I was also impressed by “The Effects of Word of Mouth: An Agent-Based Simulation of Interpersonal Influence in Social Networks,” which was presented by Dejan Duzevik, a complexity scientist at Icosystem. By modeling various marketing activities, you can gauge the potential impact of word of mouth.

While I wasn’t able to stay in Las Vegas for the following WOMMA Summit, I got several ideas while at the research symposium and spent quality time with peers in the industry – some of whom I’ve known for years but never met. If you’re interested in word-of-mouth marketing, the state of the research backing it up improves every year.

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DoubleClick Ad Exchange recently hosted two roundtable dinners to engage with publishers, agencies and marketers, foster direct dialogue between buyers and sellers of online display media, and learn more about issues on the minds (and budgets) of disparate members of the advertising community. We invited Forrester's Shar VanBoskirk to present.

Among the ideas that Shar presented at the two dinners:

  • New media advertising, which now accounts for 8% of total ad spend, will become more important as younger consumers become mainstream. Across all channels (SEM, display, emerging, video, etc.), CAGR through 2012 projects to be 27%, with video at nearly 80% CAGR over the same time period.
  • Marketers expect interactive effectiveness to increase, and their budget projections and plans over the next three years reflect this.
  • Interactive continues to serve marketer needs more effectively, from selling products and services online to driving Web site traffic to lead-gen and relationship building.
  • Exchanges will drive the next generation of sales – what is a relatively new concept now will become a core component of media buying and selling in the future.

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If you're heading to Vegas next week for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's Word of Mouth Marketing Summit, be sure to check out Heath Row, DoubleClick's research manager speaking at the Research Symposium on Tuesday about Influencing the Influencer: How Online Advertising and Media Impact Word of Mouth. It's based on a popular research paper of ours by the same name.

Heath's one of DoubleClick's best public speakers. He's also fun to schmooze with, if you get a chance, a former journalist of many years for Fast Company magazine and an avid blogger in his own right. We'll make sure he gives a quick write-up of the event when he gets back.