Through the years, I have had the privilege of holding multiple positions within Atex, from Pre-sales to Sales to Product Management. Each of the jobs has given me the chance to interact directly with our customers. A highlight of these interactions is always the User Group conferences. The latest one recently wrapped up in Melbourne in March. This marked an impressive anniversary. It was the tenth year for the group to meet in Florida. As always, there were lots of new faces in the crowd, but many in attendance had been there for all ten conferences. That is a true testament to the loyalty of Atex customers.
This year the attendance was 80+ members representing approximately 30 media companies. The conference follows an easy mix of formal presentations, break out sessions, networking opportunities and down time to relax and get to know each other better. From the Atex perspective, this is an important opportunity for us to interact directly from our customers and hear where the industry is going. The mood of the conference is usually a pretty accurate indicator of the economy. The past few years have been reserved and the main themes have been how to improve efficiency as the media industry is learning to do more with less staff. This year the mood was much more upbeat. There was lots of interest in digital – especially a push toward mobile first. The group also took the opportunity to share ideas around how to effectively bundle and sell cross media buys. And the topic of managed services was on lots of peoples’ minds as everyone is looking for cost effective ways to move forward.
One of the highlights for me was the keynote speaker on the second day. Sandy Martin, the Mobile Director for Schurz Communications, which is a nationwide company in the US that spans newspapers, television, radio broadcasters, websites and a host of mobile apps. We all live in a connected and digital world, but hearing her statistics and anecdotes was still a great reminder of how fast the mobile sector is moving to the forefront of our lives. And this platform serves as a great opportunity for media companies to capitalize on this vehicle for delivering their message and connecting consumers and sellers.
This year the format followed a formula that has been very successful in the past. The conference concludes after 3 days, then Atex provides free training on Thursday and Friday for attendees. The classes ranged from learning the new features in the latest releases to writing more effective reports to hands on labs for installing Atex web services. There was something for everyone from the end user to the IT managers who keep it running each day.
I would like to extend a special thanks to the Board Members who brought this all together: Ellie Nickel, President; Dee Dee Gober, Vice President; Tanya Cheshareck, Secretary; Mary Nichols, Treasurer and Dave Katz and Loretta Kalember from Atex. All the hard work and coordination from this team made for an informative and enjoyable time together. If you are not a part of AUG, please visit http://www.atex.com/aug/about-us to find out more about this group.
If networking with your peers and finding out the latest from Atex sounds like something you could benefit from, don’t miss your next chance. Atex will be hosting its second annual global symposium in June, Atex TalkingPoint 2012. All the details can be found on our website at http://atextalkingpoint.com/. I look forward to seeing you all there!