Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AIM Conference Wrap-Up

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend the Apartment Internet Marketing Conference, aka AIM, with two of my coworkers. Though I've been in the industry for years, this was my first time at AIM, and I was thrilled with both the content and networking opportunities. Steve Lefkovits, the Executive Producer, and his team, did a fantastic job. A few highlights:

  • Approximately 400 people attended this year's event, up more than 20% from last year's conference. I met a lot of wonderful people, including other marketing professionals, as well as representatives from some partners and vendors that we either currently work with, or are considering working with. Plus, I got to see some good friends that I hadn't seen in a while; it was so nice to reconnect and swap notes.

  • The entire conference was live-tweeted: if you couldn't attend in person, you can check out #aimconf for the "highlight reel." I normally am a pretty active participant when it comes to tweeting at an event, but for whatever reason - perhaps jet lag? - I was pretty quiet at this conference, at least on Twitter. (Dinner, on the other hand, was a whole different story. I would like to personally thank the lovely hostesses for throwing such a fun party on Thursday night...and Spark for not throwing us out on a noise ordinance violation.)

  • The presentations included multiple formats (keynotes, panels, and interviews), and included both industry veterans, as well as people from outside the multifamily world. The content, which was outstanding, covered ground ranging from revenue attribution, to SEM and SEO best practices, to managing your reputation online. These topics are incredibly important in everyone's business, but the majority of the AIM Conference presenters made a specific point to relate things back to the multifamily industry, which made the take-aways crystal clear. Plus, many of the presenters had a great sense of humor. This definitely is a group that understands that all work and no play makes for a boring session, and they did not disappoint on the play front.

The AIM Conference was also very exciting for me on a personal level, as I was invited by my friend Israel Carunungan to co-moderate the Google keynote presentation. Sam Sebastian, Google's Director of B2B and Local Markets, was smart, funny, and made the hour-long interview fly by. We received some great questions from the audience, as well as from our own networks in advance of the conversation. I believe that the presentation and/or a transcript of the discussion will be posted shortly. If and when that happens, I will update this post with a link, as well as with a link to all of the other presentations: Steve Gilbert's South Park/social media presentation is not to be missed, both of Kevin Thompson's presentations were excellent, and the three "Marketing Failures" panelists were both entertaining and educational. (Update: you can access all of the PowerPoint presentations here.)

Though my trip home was a little rocky (canceled flight, a nine-hour stay at LAX, and mechanical delays on the red-eye), the conference was well worth it, and I can't wait for AIM 2011.

In the meantime, the National Apartment Association (NAA) Education Conference and Exposition  is just around the corner. If you're going, you won't be able to miss us: Team Dolben will be about 65 people strong, and always wears very noticeable, matching shirts. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but let's just say that we'll be in full swing.

Hope to see you in New Orleans!