I just got back from adTech San Franciso. As part of the team’s new philosophy to spend less time behind the desk and more time face to face with our clients and press partners, I’ve booked myself on a crazy conference schedule for the rest of 2010. I figured adTech, the digital marketing conference, would be the sensical place to get this kicked off. Let’s start with the positive.
The conference was huge. Literally thousands of very smart marketers coming together to network knowledge and dollars. I got to meet awesome folks from Nielsen, Hyatt, Genie Knows, Izea and Wyndstorm. I made connections with a whole slew of potential service providers for our clients. I’m confident that there will be huge benefit from that. But let’s be honest, the point of going to a conference, of braving security lines, traveling thousands of miles and sleeping in a hotel bed (or in my case, on my buddies Luther’s couch – hat tip) is to sell. One campaign, one client or one sale from a conference makes the entire experience worth it. Walking away without an almost certain prospect is disappointing. adTech, like all industry conferences, puzzles me a bit. The people I’m trying to sell to are normal businesses – airlines, retail brands, new web start ups. These people don’t go to a digital marketing conference to shop for a social media company. The people who do go to digital media conferences fall into the following categories:
- 63% “performance” ad networks, aka affiliate networks, cpa peddlers and the lowest common denominator in the industry
- 19% search related experts – mostly SEO with a sprinkling of social media optimization
- 9% major tech and research firms – the Google’s, Facebook’s and comScore’s of the world
- 5% innovative young start ups
- 4% social media marketing companies
The people who interested me fall into the final three categories which is to say out of 100+ vendors at the conference I only wanted to talk to 18 and was really fascinated with my conversations with maybe half a dozen. With that said I made some great connections, got to hang with Adam and Luther in San Francisco and made a trip to Mountain View to see one of our current clients. So was it worth it? Only the sales cycle will tell.