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The recent IAB Annual Leadership Meeting was a busy, lively, and astonishingly well-attended event – 1,000 registrants! The ballroom was packed, the hallways and meeting rooms were a jumble of people, and cocktail networking parties in the balmy Palm Springs evenings were crowded with high-level digital executives making the best use of their time to get business done – and have a little fun.

The event sent a strong signal to the industry that the IAB has finally come of age as an essential lifeline for digital marketing, and that it will continue to take a leading role as the steward of digital’s evolution and success.

The perennially charismatic Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, gave the IAB ALM his signature grace and charm on stage and off, lending a personal touch to all interactions with attendees, on-stage presentations, or networking poolside.

According to Rothenberg, “The big ideas and monumental achievements brought to life by our members and staff will secure the future prosperity of our industry and of this organization. All media and marketing is becoming digital, and the IAB is the only organization prepared to support this expansion.”

Blasters in attendance were myself and Kathleen Formidoni, having a great time with our clients: most of the team from CPXi, the folks from AdColony, Bill Lederer of MediaCrossing, Dstillery, eXelate, Dave Zinman of Infolinks, Skip Brand of Martini Media, Netseer and the guys from Integral Ad Science and MediaMath.

Conference content ranged from hot-button issues around measurement, programmatic, bot fraud and piracy, customer information and targeting practices, big data, mobile and native advertising. Studio CPXi was on site with its video crew to capture thoughts and insights from industry thought leaders that will run on the CPXi and IAB websites respectively.

The event also recognized IAB members who have demonstrated strong leadership over the last year with the Service Excellence Awards. Winners included Yahoo, Rubicon, Mojiva, Facebook, Vibrant Media, Bizo, Conde Nast, Univision, FreeWheel, InMobi and many others. Other notes went out to the IAB Board of Directors, and IAB and advertising technology advancements, the mobile marketing center of excellence and the IAB center for learning.

Kudos to the IAB for such a fantastic event. I look forward to the next one!