Ad:tech, as we are all more than aware, is an annual two day event showcasing the latest and greatest developments in advertising technology. It’s billed as an event that brings the greatest minds in the business together to discuss what’s in store for the future. So naturally, I was there.
I arrived on day two figuring they’d save the best until last. However, I noticed it was surprisingly quiet, I feared that I’d made a foolish judgement in error and that a wash out was upon me.
Fortunately, I spoke to one of our ESP friends at Pure 360, who explained to me through bloodshot eyes and a faint aroma of rum and shame that the party after day one at Kensington Roof gardens had been a roaring success. Aha, the absence of attendants suddenly became clear.
Once the hangovers had (mostly) passed the discussions began to liven up. I spoke with ActiveMe, a company that uses Oculus Rift technology to deliver bespoke interactive experiences. I can confirm that the sky-diving experience they were demonstrating did genuinely give me rushes of adrenaline, and I would have fallen over had I not been holding on, impressive stuff.
But the day’s highlights go to the two key note speakers: Leonard Brody, investor, futurologist and co-owner of Coventry City and better yet, Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO of WPP.
Leonard argued that since the crash of 08, the rules of business are being re-written from the ground up, complimented by a fundamental change in consumer behaviour (sharing what we had for dinner today is the norm, thanks to Instagram, but a decade ago it would have been bizarre and borderline rude).
He goes on to argue that we are no longer one person, but in fact two. There’s our physical self, and then there’s our virtual self, the person we are online, our inner ‘keyboard warrior’. These two people, according to research, are very different people and will react and behave in entirely different ways. The next major marketing challenge is cracking this consumer split-personality disorder and successfully targeting both personalities while understanding the delicate balance between the two.
When Sir Martin Sorrell took the stage, he addressed the current problems in the industry. He highlighted the problem of ‘shortermism’, the issue that agencies are now ‘too busy looking at their shoes and not the horizon’ which is stifling creativity and overall marketing success. He says that now, since surviving the 08 crash, it’s important for agencies and clients alike to look longer term.
His future of marketing? The merging of the CMO, CIO and CTO roles, operations will merge with creative and product developers will have to co-ordinate closely with marketers. And his main areas for growth in the next few years will be in mobile search and video. You heard it here first folks.
Suddenly, as Sir Sorrell was wrapping up, a Darlek came up to me, menacingly brandishing freebies. It was at this point that I knew it was time go.
Ad:tech takes place every year in Kensington Olympia. The two day event is free to enter for anyone in the industry and if you’re interested in the future of marketing I recommend you go in 2015.