Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Upstream To Launch Nationwide Digital Ad Sales Training Program

THINK OF IT AS A mental boot camp for digital ad executives.

Shelburne, Vermont-based Upstream Group is hosting Upstream Habitat, a three-day digital ad sales training program that aims to provide an immersive learning experience for new hires and offline sales pros transitioning to the interactive space, as well as executives searching for strategic insight.

The first Upstream Habitat event is scheduled for April 2008 in New York, with plans to conduct alternating East and West Coast sessions on a quarterly basis. The curriculum will span the basics of digital ad sales terminology and metrics, to the intricacies of rich media and video sales, to ad targeting and the technologies behind ad servers and exchanges. And industry executives like Quantcast CMO Adam Gerber and Dr. Michele Madansky, former vice president of Global Research for Yahoo, have already signed on as instructors.

According to Upstream Group's CEO Doug Weaver, Upstream Habitat will offer an "intense, end-to-end training solution for digital salespeople, whether they want to focus on creativity, targeting, strategy, or knowing how to deliver an audience." To that end, attendees will be able to choose their own roster of classes, with a maximum of 25 students per class for a more personalized learning environment.

With the combination of in-depth education and peer-to-peer (and instructor) interaction, Weaver says that the events will be like recreating "the environment of a college campus for three days," as both attendees and educators will likely have accommodations in the same hotel.

The events will be held at a location about 45 minutes outside of each host city (i.e., one of the outer boroughs of NYC, or a suburb of Chicago)--"so it's close enough for our attendees to strike within an hour," says Upstream President Scot McLernon, "but not so close that they'll be distracted by other events going on."

The company, which provides consulting and training services to Internet advertising, marketing and commerce-related businesses, is pegging Upstream Habitat as an avenue for major media brands, digital agencies and independent publishers that want to ensure that their junior sales reps and seasoned vets are crafting the most effective ad buys and strategies.

by Tameka Kee, Tuesday, Nov 13, 2007 6:00 AM ET

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