Ad Tech Chicago

>> Monday, September 28, 2009

We have a new Channel Planner here at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, Melissa Gordon, and we are thrilled to have her. Melissa helps our teams determine where and when we should enter the marketplace, and boy is she busy! She recently attended the Ad Tech Symposium in Chicago so I asked her for her thoughts in regards to her new job here.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


My Adventures at Ad Tech Chicago

A few weeks ago I spent a few fun filled days with roughly 500 other advertising and marketing professionals at the Ad Tech Symposium in Chicago. By the end of my visit, I had attended 4 Keynote presentations, 2 workshops and 8 seminars across topics that varied from Mobile Metrics, to Social CRM to of course the Twitter effect.

Those 2 days at the end of the Navy Pier were filled with me running (in high heels) from seminar to workshop to seminar, doing my best to absorb all of the trends, case studies and applications of social media and the new digital space. What they didn’t tell me in the credentials or event information was that almost everyone but the presenters would be casual. As a result of that, no less than 10 other attendees asked me which panel I would be speaking on. I just smiled -- and said, the one on Wednesday!

As for what I learned, here were 3 key themes of the discussions:

1) The exponential rise of social media. The majority of the sessions were focused on this theme. The consensus? Use with caution. On the plus side, I heard many examples of how social media can showcase a brand by giving consumers power, with huge tangible benefits. For example, Threadless, a T-Shirt company, is mobilizing their 1 MM Twitter followers to create and vote on new T-Shirts, creating an active interest in their brand without a sizable media budget. Amusement park Six Flags partnered with to personalize an interactive roller coaster: over 150,000 users created and shared coasters featuring their own and their friends' faces, which was worth more than $2MM worth of "traditional" media exposure (per Jackie Gagne, Six Flag's director of digital and direct marketing). Of course, other marketers dove into the space prematurely; in one case, the only person talking about or engaging with the program was the Brand Manager’s Mom. This is a true story.

2) Metrics, Metrics, Metrics. This was a very hot topic, especially around standardizing measurement across all new media. Do we force measurements used in traditional media into the online and social worlds? How do we ensure consistency? These questions were brought to the forefront of the discussion by one of the keynote speakers, Bob Bowman, President and CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Simply put, he reported that Nielsen had under-represented his site's true audience number by roughly two-thirds. How could Nielsen miss millions of unique visitors? This was a show stopper. Needless to say, there were audible gasps from the audience, some probably from Nielsen representatives. It was a perfect example of the need for more accurate, accountable metrics in the digital space.

3) What's the next big thing? This was the big question of the conference and the resounding answer was (drum roll please)….. no one really knows. But some of the likely candidates include the explosion of mobile media, improved mobile web content, superior augmented reality and the rise of geo-utility.

I'm already looking forward to what we'll learn about at next years' conference. But one thing I know for sure: next time, I'm packing flats.

- Melissa Gordon, Channel Planning at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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