No, this is not a post about Whitey Bulger—though I am a big Johnny Depp fan, and think Black Mass looks terrific. This is a post about straight talk in Boston…

I’ve long said that “marketing is dead.” Tradeword brand building that is. True direct marketing – one-to-one interactions between product and customer, long considered commercial Nirvana, the Holy Grail of capitalism – is closer to reality than ever before. Today, thanks to big data and advances in technology, everything is direct marketing. (Have never been a great believer in ‘indirect marketing’).

With this in mind, I’m looking forward to speaking at the &THEN conference in Boston on October 5, the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) annual gathering and the industry’s longest-running trade show and exhibition. The new &THEN name for the DMA conference is apposite: we’re living in the ‘Age of Now’, and advertisers and marketers know the old rules no longer apply. This year’s event promises to be a reinvention of the DMA annual conference, one that will deliver a global experience for a new generation of digital, data-driven marketers.Spock to Kirk: “Captain, we are checkmated.” Kirk to Spock: ‘Not Chess Mr Spock – poker. Do you know the game?’

Fellow presenters include award-winning musician, producer, philanthropist, and entrepreneur John Legend; Blake Mycoskie, founder and “chief shoe giver” at Toms; and Jon Iwata, SVP of marketing and communications at IBM. Beantown here we come.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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