Magazine article Marketing

Marketing Promotion: Ad:tech - Putting Strategy One Step Ahead of Technology

Magazine article Marketing

Marketing Promotion: Ad:tech - Putting Strategy One Step Ahead of Technology

Article excerpt

The focus for this year's ad:tech has shifted from technology to helping marketers identify their business goals and translate them into digital, writes Suzy Bashford.

Christophe Asselin, ad:tech's event director, says: 'The problem with our industry is that it's full of buzzwords and hype around new platforms that change so fast. Last year, it was Facebook. This year, it's Twitter. People are desperate to align their strategy to the technological capabilities out there, rather than asking: 'Does this innovation make sense for my business?''

For this reason, this year's event is firmly fixed on strategy, rather than getting carried away with technology. Its raison d'etre is to help marketers identify their business goals, define their strategy and then translate it into digital - not the other way round.

'All the jargon and technology was becoming an obstacle and we, through ad:tech London, strongly believe we can bridge that gap by simply starting from the basics - by asking: 'What are the business goals? What are the marketing requirements? How should we try and engage consumers?' All these questions need to be answered before there's even mention of Twitter,' says Asselin.

Also in keeping with the strategic theme, the focus of the conference programme is more heavily on hearing the stories behind the big brands.

In fact, the number of brands involved in the event this year has nearly doubled since last year, and the programme includes a wide range of high-profile speakers from companies including Virgin Group, British Gas, Honda, Procter & Gamble, the COI, Dyson, the British Heart Foundation, The Guardian and Playboy.

Brands will show how they set their objectives and strategy before investing in digital. For example, Honda's digital marketing manager Jonny Freeman will be talking about how the automotive brand, famous for its creative advertising, tries to make the most of the rapidly changing digital media environment.

'We do this by working together well with our agencies and by making sure we are pushing ourselves, innovating, getting where we need to be We are not a perfect example of this, but we are happy to lead a discussion on it and it is a discussion that professionals in the space should want to be a part of,' says Freeman.

Seasoned ad:tech delegates will notice other changes at this year's conference, too. One is that the organisers have created three clear strands on the programme, so that content is tailored as much as possible to the digital experience of delegates.

New features

The first strand is aimed at chief executives, managing directors and those who make the strategic decisions; the second targets those who have a good deal of hands-on experience; and the third is suited to those who have some experience of digital, but would benefit from consolidating their knowledge.

The session lengths have also been shortened. This change comes on the back of delegate feedback from last year and the fact that speakers will have to plunge straight into their topic, with no room for superfluous commentary. 'We felt these shorter session times are more in line with degrees of concentration and they mean speakers have got to be concise,' says Asselin.

Features have also been added to the programme, such as '15 Minutes in the Hot Seat', in which industry experts are put on the spot to quickly get their point across to the audience. …

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