IdeaStar’s Major Award Leg Lamp Give-Away was a huge hit last week at the Inter-Company Marketing Group Annual Meeting in Florida. Jay Manifold Jr. (pictured below) of Woodman Insurance Agency in Omaha won the drawing. We’ll be shipping him a 45″ leg lamp. Hmmmm. Remind me next year to ask him what he did with it.

We hit on the idea of giving away a leg lamp to draw attention to IdeaStar’s major awards in Web development for online insurance processes. Check them out.

The conference itself was great. I went down with IdeaStar president Jim Fisher, Project Manager Jane Hudeck, and VP of Development Services Wayne Largent. The meeting was jam packed with networking, resulting in a lot of hot leads. What an excellent kick-off for 2007.

This is our fourth year at ICMG. We even received a special award for being an exhibitor three years in a row. It’s now prominently displayed in our office. We really do appreciate it.

It seems each year we have better and better conversations, and more and more interest, in the Internet and turning Web development over to outside companies. There are still a few insurance companies relentlessly favoring their IT departments. And some not even considering using the Internet!

The thought occurred to me: It’s like going to college and majoring in Psychology. If you take the 101, 102, 103 courses freshman year, that’s a start. But what if you don’t take the 200 and 300 level courses before taking the 400 level courses? You would be lost! We’re now moving into Web 2.0 – RSS feeds, AJAX Web pages, cascading style sheets, consumer-driven content, social networks, etc. The in-house IT department may have mastered programming, but how are they at marketing your product our services online? Probably a bit like the 400-level student who skipped the 200 and 300 courses. But that’s good for IdeaStar. Insurance companies can lean on us as things get even more complex online.

The closing day’s talks were especially good. One speaker in particular spoke about how his distribution company is leveraging the Web and trying to make a go of it – and succeeding. While I disagreed with some of his conclusions, especially about seniors not being willing to sign-up for insurance online, he helped the cause significantly with much of his content. To the people in the audience: If you want to do the things he was talking about, give me a call!

Steve Gilliland served as an excellent closing keynote speaker. If you look at the pictures, you’ll see that he was hilarious, and yet made some great points about life-work balance, something many in the audience apparently needed to hear. I’m not sure if they were wiping away tears of joy or tears of regret.

My only regret was that I didn’t act fast enough to capture some great conversations for the podcast. Perhaps I’ll be able to recreate a few of those comments over the phone in the coming weeks. The good news is that I’ve got some very cool projects tee’d up for 2007 and 2008. So looking forward to that….