MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit Cocktail Reception, Captiva Island, Florida

Just An Online Minute…

This lovely piece written by guest socializer, David Goetzl.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow with some Cinco De Mayo debauchery! – Kelly Samardak

Marley provided the background music, but Buffett would have fit right in. The attendees at the MediaPost Email Insider Summit gathered Sunday night at an idyllic setting at the Captiva Island, Fla. resort that called to mind Buffett’s beloved Keys

That’s Jimmy — not Warren, whose inability to call the recession would likely have conjured up unwanted feelings.

The economy and swine flu seemed oceans away on the postcard-perfect Gulf Coast beach. Palm trees swayed as a soft wind blew and the margaritas flowed to the tunes of the never-gets-old Marley hits. Then, the sun gradually descended and the moon illuminated the island.

Some reactions to the setting:

“Just phenomenal,” said Sylvia Sierra of Access Intelligence as she downed a Corona.

Acxiom’s Chris Marriott: “Awesome.”

“Serenely windswept and interesting,” said Ball State media researcher Mike Bloxham, who wore an Armani straw hat (purchased in his native Britain).

Still, there was some chatting about business, namely the “e-word.” Regarding the economy, Intercontinental Hotels Group’s Ryan Sagan said business travelers are cutting costs and trading down from upscale properties to mid-scale ones. Included in that grouping is his company’s relaunched Holiday Inn brand, which is undergoing a $1 billion rebranding.

Perhaps those cost-conscious travelers are looking to show their bosses they wouldn’t fit in at AIG retreats.

Sagan said his CMO recently said, “Nobody ever got fired for staying at a Holiday Inn.”

A year ago at the Summit, there was little talk about Twitter and its role in integrated campaigns with email marketing. Now, Twitter’s a hot topic, along with social media in general. Some marketers have moved aggressively in, while others are doing what Nationwide’s Brian Jaffe said Monday morning: “walking.” But everyone is searching for an entry point.

“If you get into the social space wrong, you pay for it for years,” Sagan said.

Sagan said at his company, there’s a social media manager charged with Twitter and Facebook operations. She holds a Ph.D in communications law.

One executive who would be expected to have a somewhat dour view of the economy would be Access Intelligence’s Sierra. But she said the trade publisher only garners 23% of revenue from ad dollars – “a nice position to be in regarding this economy,” she said as she looked forward to testing her 28 handicap on Captiva’s course.

Acxiom’s Marriott said he appreciated the Summit’s close-knit opportunities, calling it “an intimate high-level conference.” And, gasp, an opportunity to mingle with the competition. A Gulf Coast beach will do that to you.

Speaking of Twitter, Pamela McAtee of Epsilon interrupted her Margaritaville experience to marvel at how companies are now hiring people to deal solely with social media development. A year ago, the role might have been perhaps a small portion of one person’s job. Now, there are dedicated teams.

“It’s almost like what email was 10 years ago,” she said.

“There’s an ever-increasing Twitter/email integration going on,” said Fred Tabsharami of Port25 Solutions.

Next year, the event likely will have tweeters on site.

Check out the rest of the envy inducing photos by MediaPost’s own Rob McEvily!