Where did “ON DEMAND” Go?

By | February 13, 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?

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4 thoughts on “Where did “ON DEMAND” Go?

  1. Elizabeth Gooding

    I have to say I had exactly the same experience. I went to the website to check the dates and the agenda and was sure I was in the wrong place. I kept mumbling to myself “I don’t want Publishing Xchange – I want On Demand! Where is the agenda?” Unlike you I was frustrated enough that I left without trying to register. A brand is a terrible thing to waste!

    Be afraid… be very afraid.

  2. Craig Kevghas

    Anytime you change the name of a product, or in this case a conference, there is always some confusion. Simply said, the On Demand Conference is now called Publishing Xchange and the cointent is going to be outstanding and unmatched in the industry.

    The Publishing Xchange Conference will share a location with the Info360 Conference and the On Demand Expo, bringing together for the first time the full expanse of Digital Publishing, Digital Print, and Enterprise Information Management. Over the last three years, the exhibition hall has averaged over 20,000 visitors, while the three past conferences have each reached out to 2000+ attendees. The aim is to help publishers, marketing communication content providers, graphic designers, ad agencies, and commercial and in-plant printers build a stronger roadmap to success.

    Let’s face it… since 1994 On Demand has been showing people how to integrate digital printing and make money at it. Now we’re showing printing companies how to expand their operations (and outlook) to capture a bigger piece of the pie. It may be a little different but I promise the investment at this year’s event will be well worth it.

    BTW, the Publishing Xchange program has been the work of David Zwang, who spends most of his time flying around the world seeing the industry from every angle. He’s bringing his worldwide vantage point and the collaboration of many of the industry’s finest to a few conference rooms in DC. Don’t miss this opportunity.

  3. Elizabeth Gooding

    Craig, maybe if it said clearly on the website “the On Demand Conference is now called Publishing Xchange” as you stated so clearly above – people wouldn’t be clicking all over the site thinking they were in the wrong place. Some confusion is inevitable – but this was unnecessary.

    I hope that Publishing Xchange is an opportunity for On Demand to return to its previous heights. I recently learned that Frank Gilbane had some input on Publishing XChange. I’m a huge Gilbane fan but expect that some of the content will be a bit of a departure for past On Demand attendees. That may not be a bad thing – just different and a bit confusing. (and you could be one of the aliens- so I’m still a bit scared 🙂 )

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