I’m in Boulder, Colorado today for Colorado Ad Day 2022, an event put on by Ad Club Colorado, where I will have the privilege of doing a fireside chat with my good friend Eric Roza, the owner and chairman of CrossFit, one of the world’s most powerful brands in fitness and well-being.
What will make the talk particularly relevant to the ad crowd is that Eric was one of the true pioneers in the world of data-driven advertising and marketing.
He transformed Datalogix from an offline marketing data company into one of the most powerful companies in the digital marketing ecosystem in more than 12 years as its CEO, selling it to Oracle in 2014 for more than $1.2 billion, then running Oracle Data Cloud for several years. Three years ago, Eric bought CrossFit, a company he knew well as a longtime adherent and the owner of one of its top gyms in the world in Boulder.
I’m certain about one thing today: Our discussion will be more robust and relevant to how the advertising world really works than if it was part of an ad or media event in New York City or at next week’s Cannes Lions.
Nothing against either of those very special venues. I live and work in New York and will be a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed attendee at Cannes.
But in both of those places, the glamour and sizzle of the venue, its exclusive attendees and headliner talent, cause most panels and presentations to be more about posing (like on the red carpet) than positing practical, pragmatic ideas and concepts for making our industry better. Most importantly, local events also feature a chance to engage with folks who work in the most important element of our business -- the front lines of advertising, where consumers, brands and real people’s budgets and purchase preferences actually play out, whether in neighborhood grocery stores, local fast-casual restaurants, Main Street mom-and-pops, or fast-growing ecommerce.
Consumers, their purchases and brands, live locally, as does all great advertising. That’s why I am in Boulder. That’s why I had colleagues last week at ThinkLA to hear the latest on advertising and marketing in the country’s entertainment capital, and at AAF Austin to talk about the future of TV advertising. They were at the Atlanta Ad Club talking about the same thing just 10 days before.
Over the past few years, some of the most meaningful discussions I have had have been at events put on by the Media Association of Pittsburgh and local events in Minneapolis and Chicago.
To be clear, I am an enormous fan of the ad industry’s national and global events. I attend many of them and learn a lot when I do. But they can’t replicate some of the things that can only happen in local markets, where the real impact of advertising is felt, and where so much of the very best work in our business is done.
What do you think? Please use the comments sections to let us know about some of your favorite local advertising and media groups and events. We all need to connect with them more.