We recently attended two industry shows, Ad-Tech, the well-known show that focuses on advertising technology, and the Marketing Nation Summit put on by marketing technology and automation company Marketo.
Advertising and marketing technology is at a revolutionary peak, as we all know. The pace of innovation is dazzling — most of us can only read the headlines on all the email newsletters. Attending these shows is a great way to investigate and understand the technology changes in our industry.
We were excited for the Ad-Tech show. We've been attending since the late 1990's and have always considered it to be a “must go-to” show. We figured with the revolution it would be more crowded and exciting than ever. After all, they had doubled the cost of a floor pass, and for the first time charged for the keynotes too. Many, including us, were disappointed.
There was a lack of energy, lackluster enthusiasm, a large number of “car boob” girls outside of Click Fraud booths (Fraud Angel was really popular, but, honestly, I can’t remember the name of the booth), a large number of affiliate CPA marketing firms and, with relief, the data companies. We say relief, because we really wanted to learn more about them. I didn’t see a single DSP vendor there. No RTBs either. Is this show not for media buyers anymore? Was everyone tired from Programmatic IO the week before? Maybe there was an ad exchange there but they were not popping out to me, if so. And to top it off, the highlight was a keynote by Sean “Puffy” Combs. WTF?
Innovation and partnership matters
Compare this to the Marketo Marketing Summit this week. Marketing automation technology brought to you — as the “marketing nation.” A group formed to embrace the dazzling revolution with innovation, a shared sense of values, community, and partnerships. Marketo’s CEO said, "The days of ownership are being replaced with the days of partnership.”
I've been a marketer for over 20 years, and I can tell you this was one of the most authentically slick presentations I have ever seen. Not one, not two, but three major product rollouts that each in their own right could make for an industry disruption. There were inspirational talks from C-Level executives from top U.S. companies, all extolling the partnership aspect of their relationship with Marketo, and talking about "friendship." Yes, friendship. They hit on nearly every button in the industry today, from data to marketing launchpad applications to women in the workplace.
To top it off, they brought former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to speak about "innovation in the nation.” She charmed the audience expertly weaving synergies among politics, marketing automation, and women in the workplace. She inspired us to help our fellow females build confidence in business.
She spoke about America itself being a "bold invention," when our forefathers worked by "habits of the heart," and espousing that no day should go by without each of us, as part of a whole, shouldering a good day’s work. She had fascinating insight into social media and the posers (my words) who push for a single movement only as though no real life participation is needed to see a cause through.
This aligned perfectly with the Marketo CEO’s stance that marketing is all about helping someone solve problems by analyzing them and bringing smart partners together to solve them. There is no cut-and-run silo'd solution anymore.
We came away with a clear sense of one word: Partnership. We have to work in partnership with each other in this revolution or be left behind. We came away inspired to build more partnerships. We came away inspired that the future is finally here with marketing products that can truly help justify ad spend in a way we've never been able to in this industry before. All that from a marketing technology show? Innovation matters. Oh -- and I didn't pay a cent.