Where did “ON DEMAND” Go?
By Richard Losch on February 13th, 2011
Has anyone else been confused when trying to find the On Demand Conference? I have been a regular attendee for years and received the call for conference papers last year. When I hit the link to “Conference Info” and “Register for the Program” on the web site and ended up at Publishing Xchange I was sure I must have done something wrong. I went back to the home page and saw the separate information at the bottom of the page on Publishing Xchange and that it was now co-located with On Demand and Info 360. So I scrolled back up to the On Demand section and clicked on the highlighted phrase in the text, “new conference program”. I again ended up at the Publishing Xchange web page. After clicking around the site for awhile, FINALLY I found a link that said “Attend the Print-Centric Sessions Produced by WhatTheyThink”, and clicked through to . . . the Publishing Xchange Conference-At-A-Glance page.
The emphasis on publishing was not what I expected from On Demand; cross media communication, yes, but publishing? The Corporate sponsorship of the different tracks was also a surprise. In past On Demand conferences, the sessions provided opportunities to understand how technology, suppliers, and customers came together to solve Business Communication issues. I wondered what drove this to change from what seemed to be a very useful and well attended format. There was no communication beforehand that the title, format, just about everything had changed. Where do I go now to get information on postal issues like IMB, and on fulfillment or distribution or the many other business communications topics that On Demand was known for?
Finally after looking a couple more times and reading more of the marketing materials I concluded this was the only conference at the ON DEMAND Expo this year. Based on my positive past experience and a bit of curiosity I decided to go ahead and register for the Publishing Xchange Conference. We will have to wait until March to see if that was a smart thing to do. I am still struggling however with how Business Communications (Direct Marketing and Critical Customer Documents) are Publishing. It appears that service providers, suppliers and clients representing a broad spectrum of offerings are being driven together under Publishing, Why?
Have you seen the television show “V”, where lizard aliens look human until they are wounded and you can see the lizard underneath? It appears On Demand has suffered a similar fate. Someone put an On Demand shell over a publishing conference. What’s the message here? When they talk about business transformation and industry restructuring on the On Demand home page, do they mean all of us in Direct Marketing and Critical Customer Communications should throw in the towel and try Publishing? Is it “invasion of the conference snatchers?” Or maybe it’s a Borg plot and “resistance is futile.”
Have aliens taken over ON DEMAND? Should I be afraid?