I find myself thinking about what kind of proposition a conference must deliver to present as current, compelling and worth our while. The imperative is some blend of provoking our intellects; providing professional development opportunities; giving us access to networking and deal-making; and generally being the uncontested best option on where to be at any given hour.
There's a lot bundled into that proposition. But, perhaps most importantly, for me, to deliver value, I look for delivery on some core promise. That is, one prevailing takeaway that services its attendees strategically and practically, in their day to day.
So, projecting myself into each conference scenario this week - while it is still here is what I see as the promise of each, based on where we are as industry and the hopeful buzz that surrounds each agenda.
Search Engine Strategies (SES) New York: Within our industry, we have long acknowledged this industry as one unto itself. We've been talking about blended search and integration for some time. As I look at perhaps one of the most robust agendas I've seen, I can't help but think about the promise this conveys. Within the Church that is Search, might we un-silo this method once and for all? Yes, we have our different altars: natural search optimization, paid search, real-time and instant search, others. But, on an agenda that includes meaningful address of all these and weaves in social media marketing, platforms, creative, display and more - we have a stronger marketing conversation.
OMMA Performance: From the earliest days of digital, we have sought to reconcile our relationship with our own objectives, determining which strategies and methods we use for branding and which for direct response or performance. Or, when some sort of hybrid program might service our needs. At a time when data has finally taken a core place in our conversations - I'd like to see this conference elevate us to a place where we really begin to commit to data application and stewardship. The updated promise is to move from a state of data sycophancy to one of understanding one's own business quest and the part that data plays, so that we will make the right investments in tools sets, people.
AppNation Advertising and Media Summit: There have been numerous conferences or sessions on apps as marketing platform. We universally acknowledge that we are forevermore in a connected world. The promise now is to really begin to tie it all together within our business scenarios: the role that apps play within consumer lifestyle and therefore consumer marketing; the leveraging of utility; socialized device usage; connected devices; and even gaming - and lifestyle. If the agenda can elevate the conversation out of scrappy, bright-shiny-object banter, once and for all, I say it's kept its promise.
The Social Consumer: Anytime, whenever we gather to talk about Social Media and Marketing, the agenda feels monstrous. On an endless stream of potential discussions, roundtables and confabs, what are the most meaningful themes - where should our heads really be? Oh, conference planners and programmers, please promise some focus and facilitate as we marketers seek to carve a path forward.