Yesterday, I had the honor of moderating the keynote panel at ad:tech Chicago. Below is a copy of the presentation I used to kick things off and give the panelists something to react to. It should be pretty self-explanatory without my voiceover.
One thing I'll point out is that on slide 9 I asked the crowd to weigh in via show of hands and some 80-90% voted for social media as the fastest growing area of digital marketing. But, as I mentioned in my post recapping my ad:tech webinar, "growth" can be widely interpreted.
I should also mention that @LenKendall makes a good point when he says, er... tweets, "When determining growth of ANYTHING. Factor in growth of population. That ratio will show you true growth vs. stagnation."
Overall, I thought the dialogue on the panel was great. Sean Finnegan of SMG was a great sport about slide 19, especially considering his kids were in the audience. Jeff Levick of AOL Advertising shared some interesting nuggets about the direction his company is heading -- specifically, around creation of original content. (Off-stage he told me that they have some 1,000+ writers in NYC cranking stuff out.) John Cantarella of Time.com had a great soundbyte as he lamented "parasitic aggregators" of content -- although he refused to name any, I chimed in with a Huff-Po cough. And Jeff Bell represented DOmedia well by calling attention to the need for better attribution management -- although that buzzword seems to have caused some confusion.
It definitely seems like the consensus is the volume of planning (and actual spending) activity is picking up. Both AOL and Time.com reported heavy increases in RFPs -- interesting, John pointed out that almost 100% of the requests are for custom packages, not straight ad units. And Sean and Jeff both said they've seen client budgets open up a bit headed into the holidays.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time before I could get to the SMS Q&A but we were able to squeeze in 2 live audience questions that called attention to trends in video and corporate social responsibility.
I'd like to thank Drew Ianni, ad:tech programming chair, for the opportunity to participate and CIMA, for nominating me to represent the organization. And, of course, my fellow panelists for engaging in the conversation and opening their kimonos a bit.
Looking forward to next year. Hopefully by then, WAY up will be the new up. Hey, we can imagine, can't we? (Sorry, had to close with another Beatles reference.)
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