Today was day 1 of the annual AdTech Sydney conference. The exhibition hall held such brands as Yahoo and Foxtel, B&T and Marketing Mag. The notable absence was Google, which was dissapointing considering that they put a stand at the Nanjing SMX conference in October, so not sure why they didn’t show at AdTech in Sydney – unless it is something to do with the economic crisis.
Because Ad-Tech is a very pricey conference, which is why I was surprised to see that there were so many smaller outfits present, like digital marketing software makers, SEO agencies and Email Marketing companies. Another surprise was that there were two conference stands held by brands specifically dedicated to marketing and providing content to women (Femail and Flossie Media).
In the exhibition hall there were free talks being held, which were packed to capacity, although the capacity wasn’t really that big. The speakers had to talk above the general conference background noise, which was quite difficult, but still, they were packed because they were free, whereas access to the other talks was quite expensive.
The keynote capacity was much bigger, and there was a fair turnout to hear from the conference chair, Jennifer Williams, Nick Brien from MediaBrands, and Steve Green from Kodak.
Jennifer talked a lot about social media – to give a taste for the overwhelmingly social media focus of the conference. She made the comment that Twitter is the real-time search engine, compared to Google which is the archival search engine. I can imagine that Google wouldn’t like to hear that, and that they will be trying to become a real time search engine sometime soon. It seems feasible to me – search Google images, news, blogs, web, or realtime.
Nick Brien gave everyone in the audience reason to smile by spinning the world economic crisis as an opportunity to innovate as well as show clients how the value of the webs accountability.
He also struck a chord with me regarding social media. Although we should applaud the daring and experimentation of brands exploring social media, in this early stage of the game, many brands are getting it wrong, and making us cringe, when they try to adapt their brands in inappropriate ways. (Really, why are people becoming facebook friends with Toyota?) Nick posits that perhaps social media should be more about listening not talking. More about engagement, not exposure.
The final speaker of the morning was Steve Green from Kodak, who discussed how his company has had to evolve due to the digital camera. While this was a great speech to hear regarding how a company changed, adapted and flourished in adverse situations (topical for most companies now), it didn’t have much at all to do with digital marketing. The focus was on the move from film to digital cameras, but not about the marketing of it. Which was a shame, but still very interesting. Kodak had only the one product for 120 years (film), but now that one product is only 25% of its revenue. An inspiring story for all those companies struggling out there now.