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“Transforming Classifieds”
Miami General Meeting, 5 – 8 November 2008

As the classifieds sector changes ever faster, it becomes less about managing an evolving business and more about driving through the necessary changes to transform the business completely. In Miami, the programme will address the strategies, technologies and business models which will help you become more effective in taking your business forward, and more successful in identifying and exploiting new opportunities.

The format of the GM will be 3 full days of sessions from Thursday to Saturday, with delegates arriving on Wednesday to enjoy lunch, an beach afternoon activity and the Welcome Reception and Dinner.

The programme is posted below and speaker details will be added as they are received – check back for latest updates!

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Wednesday 5 November

GM Miami

11.00-13.30
Registration
12.30-13.30
Lunch
14.00 – 16.00
Teambuilding Event
19.00 – 22.30
Welcome Reception and Dinner

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Thursday 6 November

GM Miami

Session 1
Chairperson’s Welcome and Opening
Keynote Address

Search, search marketing and advertising, and the future direction of the Internet are just some of the topics which will be tackled in this wide-ranging Keynote Address from one of Google’s senior executives. The search giant’s focus on “local”, and users’ ever-increasing expectations of how digital platforms should help them connect and trade with their local communities has spawned many new services and applications for publishers, advertisers and consumers alike – this session will help put it all in context.

Speaker:
Eric Stein – Director, Local Markets, Google, USA

Pro-active transformation management

Rapid shifts in the classifieds industry require rapid responses. Managing big strategic, organisational and above all cultural changes is a skill in itself, and one that classified media publishers need to master fast. A great opportunity to learn from a speaker from a blue-chip FMCG background.

Speaker:
Ciler Yildiz – Vice President, Trader Media East, Turkey

Session 2
The “Where” Show – mobile, mapping, geo-location and more…

This session will address and review some of the emerging ideas, business models and technologies which are enabling local search products. How can the all-important “where” add value to classified listing products” and most crucially, how can it drive traffic and be monetized?

Speaker:
Jim Clouse – Founder/CEO, ClikitySplit.com, USA
Ben Saren – Founder and CEO, Citysquares.com, USA

Better online sales through a better online sales offering

It seems obvious but give the people what they want and they’ll buy it. But how does the average classified media publisher know what works other than through (expensive and time-consuming) trial and error? This session will guide you through the latest research on what actually works in website design and how to sell it effectively.

Speaker:
Greg Swanson – Partner, ITZ Publishing, USA

Lunch
Session 3
Moving Pictures – what are the opportunities for classified media publishers?

A panel session comprising some of the leading practitioners of video classified advertising, analysts and technology providers will describe and discuss how video is performing, what business models can underpin it, and what are the do’s and don’t’s of successful (and simple) implementation. With plenty of time for Q&A, this is a real chance to get to grips with this exciting new medium.

Panelists:
Anupam Gupta – President and CEO, Marketing, Mixpo, USA
Alfredo Escolar – Founder and CEO, Evisos.com, Argentina
Frank Lucero – Founder and CEO, AdFare, USA

Session 4
SHARING BEST PRACTICE – closed session for a maximum of 30 senior executives

A repeat of the immensely successful sessions from the Amsterdam and Brussels conferences with some new, ever-more relevant areas to discuss and a re-visiting of the fundamentals to check on progress. As before, this 90-minute session will bring publishers together in an informal and relaxed forum to discuss some pre-researched metrics.
The aim is to ‘get behind’ the numbers and really understand what business decisions and strategies can impact these key markers. Participants will be asked to submit in advance a maximum of 10 easily-established business metrics (e.g. monthly page views, length of user session, unused advertising inventory) relating to the principal areas of their business. These will be shared with the session attendees, and then discussed in small groups, so that participants can quiz the star performers on how they have achieved their results, and in turn share their best practices with the group. A fantastic opportunity to ask all the questions you’ve always wanted to!

Participation in this session is included in the registration fee, please indicate when registering that you wish to participate so that Head Office can send you the list of required metrics.

Or: “Speed-dating”

Again, following some great feedback from Brussels, we’re winding up the kitchen timers and asking you to share your best business idea with your “date” in a 3-minute time slot before moving on to the next person. In just 90 minutes, you’ll learn a lot, meet many new folk, and maybe even win a prize for the best “date”! This session sparks so many new contacts and starts so many conversations that we’ve deliberately scheduled it earlier in the event so that it can benefit networking over the days that follow.

Evening: Group Cuban-style dinner event

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Friday 7 November

GM Miami

Session 1
The car goes mobile

Taking a major vertical website and successfully transferring it to the mobile platform is no small matter – learn how Cars.com deliver an effective and impressive mobile experience for users and advertisers alike.

Speaker:
Sharon Knitter – Senior Director of Consumer Products; Cars.com, USA

Enabling mobile classifieds

Skip online, why not transform your print classifieds into the mobile variety? It’s often been said that print and mobile go together like bacon and eggs but is that really the case?

Speaker:
Shuki Lehavi – CEO and co-Founder, Gumiyo INC, USA

A classifieds community in Quebec

The leading classifieds site in Francophone Canada, LesPac.ca has built a large and enthusiastic community of nearly 1.5 million users of their classifieds listings. But they’ve faced tough challenges in achieving and retaining their #1 slot, and have revolutionized their business model and faced down a strong free-free competitor in the process.

Speaker:
Suzanne Moquin – President, LesPAC.com, Canada

Session 2
The biggest single purchase you’ll ever make…

Real-estate verticals have made great strides in the local search space in recent years. After all, the neighbourhood that buyers are searching in is usually pretty clearly defined so how have the major players leveraged this natural preference and built complementary functionality to support it? What can classified media publishers learn from their experiences?

Speaker:
Pete Flint – Founder and CEO, Trulia

Best practices in recruitment, automotive and real estate

A series of case-studies from a leading supplier to the classified media industry demonstrating the profitable initiatives that their clients have implemented.

Speaker:
George Dratelis – Director of Client Revenue Enhancement, Adicio INC, USA

What, how and why?

Wrapping up the plenary sessions, leading digital guru and prolific blogger Steve Yelvington will share his unique insight into the impact that the Internet age will have on us and our businesses. With open-source software allowing two kids in a garage to knock up a fully-functional vertical classifieds site in an afternoon, how can classified media publishers weather the coming storm?

Speaker:
Steve Yelvington – Thinker and Digital Strategist, Morris Communications INC, USA

Lunch
Session 3 & 4
Workshops

A small change from previous GM’s, in Miami we will be offering 3 longer specialist workshops which will run concurrently for a full afternoon (2 sessions) to enable the workshop leaders and participants to really delve deeply into their subjects.

WORKSHOP 1 – GOOGLE ANALYTICS

This workshop will help publishers leverage the power of Google Analytics, Google’s free site-performance tracking and monitoring tool. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it, and the workshop will help participants better understand the detailed data that can be derived from weblog files, and crucially, what you can do to improve your site’s performance.

Facilitator:
Morgan Jones – President, eCommerce Intelligence, USA

WORKSHOP 2 – SEO/SEM (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION/SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING)

Following the extraordinary success of the Search Lab in February, there will be a further special session to assist publishers in gaining better placement on the search engines’ first page of organic results as well as managing their SEM programmes and budgets to best effect. With 30-50% of traffic to classified site typically coming from search engines, this is a session you simply can’t afford to miss!

Facilitator:
Maciej Galecki – CEO, bluerank, Poland

WORKSHOP 3 – MAKING YOUR CALL-CENTRE A PROFIT-CENTRE

As online self-service ad systems gain traction, many publishers are questioning the value and performance of their call-centre operations. The call-centre still has a significant role to play in our businesses, and there’s every opportunity to implement the latest technologies to support a pro-active call-centre management strategy. If you want to move your call-centre into profit, this is a must-attend workshop.

Facilitator:
Beverly Crandon – Consultant, Classified Intelligence/AIM Group, Canada

Evening: Free time to enjoy the many fine dining and nightlife experiences that Miami offers

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Saturday 8 November

GM Miami

Session 1
Inspiring Change

Another first for a General Meeting, we will welcome a unique and inspiring speaker, Jeff Evans, from Mountain Vision, who has overcome significant challenges to achieve success. Attendees can then transfer their enthusiasm to the sessions of the Publishers’ Meeting and Sales Managers’ Workshop.

Speaker:
Jeff Evans – Mountain Vision, USA

Sessions 2 & 3
Publishers’ Meeting

This top-level closed meeting for senior executives only will challenge attendees with thought-provoking questions, strongly-held opinions and the open exchange of information and ideas that has come to characterise ICMA Publishers’ Meetings. Guided by the experienced Martha de la Torre, attendees will discuss how to drive and manage the transformation of classifieds in the six critical areas of content, technology, print, sales, organization and online – no topic is off-limits! And the results of the votes on key questions will be recorded to reflect the opinions of the delegates. A perfect opportunity to share your thoughts on the previous sessions and learn from your peers…

Chair:
Martha de la Torre – President and CEO, El Clasificado, USA

Or Sales Managers’ Workshop

The Miami SMW will be led by the irrepressible Peter Lamb and will include a bench-marking exercise for attendees on key metrics such conversion rates, average ad value, telesales vs field sales etc. Knowing classified sales managers, this will spark impassioned debate about how best to lead a sales force in these challenging times which Peter will guide via a Q&A session, sharing his extensive knowledge and experience. Don’t miss this!

Chair:
Peter Lamb – President, Lamb Consulting, USA

Session 4
Business Meeting

The 2009 budget, Head Office updates and report on 2008 projects – come and get involved in your Association!

PHOENIX Meeting
Evening: Gala Party on the Princess Lady