July 12, 2004
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
The nation's top technology marketers convene in Chicago today for
Ad:Tech04. Over 2,000 marketers are expected to attend the two-day event
at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. They'll be trading war stories
and the latest techniques for connecting with customers and selling their
products and services online.
"Ad:Tech is the event for interactive marketing," says
Joel Davis, CEO of JD Events, the show organizer. "Ad:Tech has been an
icon on the West Coast and the East Coast." Now he's bringing the twice
annual show to Chicago because he smells business potential. "We feel it's
a tremendous advertising market. There are an enormous number of
packaged-goods companies and agencies in Chicago. We'd be missing out if
we weren't doing a show in Chicago," he says.
The timing for Chicago is excellent. Interactive marketing is maturing
as a business discipline. Online marketing is no longer just for the
start-up dot.coms. It's becoming mainstream, and Davis aims to attract
marketers and business owners of all stripes.
Pete Petersen, president of travel distribution for United Airlines'
loyalty services, keynotes the conference. Petersen is responsible for United.com, the airline's interactive Web site, which
operates in 28 countries. Petersen will talk about the online revolution
in the travel industry, where sales grew from nil in 1997 to an expected
$52 billion this year, according to Petersen.
Petersen's enthusiastic about Ad:Tech coming to town. "Chicago has a
great level of online marketing. There are a lot of significant online
businesses here. You've got Orbitz, United.com, Sears.com. It's exciting
to have the industry experts coming together in a session like this."
Click's Ferro is clicking
Michael Ferro Jr., CEO of Chicago-based Click Commerce, completed the
acquisition of Irving, Texas-based bTrade last week. The company Ferro
founded in 1996 is a leader in providing technology that enables
connections between global organizations and their distribution partners
over the Internet. The deal strengthens Click Commerce's hand in the
manufacturing, financial services and consumer products industries.
In addition to doing deals, Ferro is active in the classroom, helping a
group of 225 elementary students at St. Matthias Transfiguration School on
the city's North Side. His goal: to help them gain better access to the
Internet and a higher-quality education.
School Principal Mary Stachura couldn't be happier. As players in the
Archdiocese of Chicago Big Shoulders Fund program, Ferro and former Leo
Burnett CEO Bill Lynch are teaming up to support the economically
Stachura says Ferro and Lynch brought in nearly $100,000 in support,
including a grant from the Fry Foundation to provide wireless Internet
connections in a building with all plaster walls that was built in 1887.
Thanks to Ferro, "every 7th and 8th grade student and their teachers
have laptops," adds Stachura. "It's like we died and went to heaven."
The principal lauds Ferro's creativity, energy and willingness to spend
time in the classroom inspiring her students.
Jobs for Michigan or
The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State
University says the U.S. Department of Energy's proposed Rare Isotope
Accelerator project would contribute $1.9 billion to the Michigan economy
over the next 20 years.
That includes an estimated 800 new construction jobs and 400 new
laboratory jobs stemming from $900 million in construction costs and an
$80 million annual federally funded operating budget.
Michigan and Illinois are competing for the prized research facility.
An estimated $3 million in state funding to support the project is
locked up in the Springfield budget battle. Do Gov. Blagojevich and
Speaker Madigan have a plan for winning this plum project? Stay tuned.
Bits & bytes
New York-based Internet marketing maven Andy Sernovitz hosts his
"Feast for Smart Marketers" event here Monday night. Sernovitz is founder
of GasPedal.net, a leading Interactive marketing advisory firm. On hand:
Daniel Hess, comScore Networks; Peter DeLegge, Aon; John
Seebeck, Crate & Barrel; Chris Henger, Performics; Peter
Waldheim, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Brad
Michael Krauss is a tech writer and consultant.